Advent (Day 1)

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.” (Luke 1:46-55 ESV).

Today we will begin a lengthy look at the season we call Advent. In the next twenty days we’ll take a different look at the Scripture that directly references the birth of Jesus. Our first reading is found in the Gospel of Luke. It is known as the “Magnificat.” It is a psalm of Mary. Here we see Mary as she acknowledges what she clearly believes to be the most remarkable thing about God: He is about to change the course of all human history; the most important three decades in all of time are about to begin.

We are forced to ask where God places himself at this moment. It is almost inconceivable that he is occupying himself with two obscure, humble women, one old and barren (Elizabeth), one young and a virgin (Mary). And Mary is so moved by this vision of God, the lover of the lowly, that she breaks out in song. This is “The Magnificat.” Mary and Elizabeth are the wonderful heroines in Luke’s account. He loves the faith of these women. The thing that impresses him most, it appears, and the thing he wants to impress on Theophilus, his noble reader of his Gospel, is the lowliness and cheerful humility of Elizabeth and Mary as they submit to their magnificent God.

Notice that Elizabeth says, “And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43); and, Mary says, “He has looked on the humble estate of his servant.” (Luke 1:48). Today I would encourage you to think on this truth: the only people whose soul can truly magnify the Lord are people like Elizabeth and Mary. They are people who acknowledge their lowly estate and are overwhelmed by the condescension of the magnificent God. I am always amazed that it is when I am at my weakest when I know and experience the power of God. This was certainly true for Elizabeth and Mary. The counter-intuitive nature of the Gospel always surprises me. Whatever difficulty you are facing, remember today that it is in this weakness that He will work magnificently! This is the position of victory! This is the time to rejoice! Your deliverance is at hand!