Have you forgotten about Mary? I sure had! I had her down in history simply as a blessed young girl. Oh, I was grateful for her, but I had missed her wisdom and spiritual depth.
Mary had been visited by an angel named Gabriel who was sent by God to tell her some earth-shattering news. She would be impregnated by the Holy Spirit and bring forth the savior of planet Earth. Wait… what?! The news was so big that Mary decided to go see her cousin Elizabeth to process it all. As she arrived at Elizabeth’s home, Elizabeth exclaimed, “You are blessed among women!” (Luke 1:41). Then, Mary responded to her cousin. Take a minute and read her response to her cousin as told by the writer Luke.
46 And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48 For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49 For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
50 And His mercy is on those who fear Him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
54 He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy,
55 As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever”
Dr. Martyn Lloyd Jones, initially trained as a medical doctor, became a preacher and is often spoken of as the greatest preacher of the 20th century. Here, he unpacks the depth of Mary’s words for us. He notes that Mary’s words demonstrate these powerful principles. Take time after each point to ponder the questions.
Mary’s response has strong depth of feeling (my soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoiced). (v 46)
Have you deeply responded to God’s gift of Jesus this Christmas? Is your depth of feeling deep enough that you would share with your friends or staff?
Mary sees herself for who she is, a maidservant, for whom God will do great things. (v 47)
Do you see yourself as powerful, or do you see yourself as a servant of God?
Mary magnifies, the Lord. Not just a tiny baby crying in a manger. (v 46)
She sees the future of the baby as Jehovah God. We can’t really understand Christmas until we grapple with this amazing truth. Is God the Lord of all you do?
Mary sees the baby Jesus as God her Savior. (v 47)
Do you see Jesus as your Savior? That’s why He came to Earth. That’s why his name is what makes up the holiday name! That’s what Christmas is all about.
Mary realized God is mighty. (v 49)
Is there hope for your business, your family, your life? Yes! God is mighty!
Mary says that God is holy. (v 49)
God hates the immoral and unethical stuff of life. Is everything in your leadership and your company operating under the truth of God’s principles?
Mary notes that God shows mercy to those of us that fear him. (v 50)
Do you fear God? He’s not just mighty and holy. If that were the end of His character, He’d snuff us out in a second. God is not just gracious, He is merciful towards you and everything wrong you’ve ever done. Mary just summarized pretty much the whole Old Testament! She was a student of God’s teaching. Are you studying God’s word?
Finally, Mary praises God’s faithfulness. (v 53, 54). God never forgets His promises and He was about to fulfill one of them through her.
As you ponder all of your life and all of God’s story from Genesis to today, do you see God’s hand in your life? Do you see his plan for humanity? What if you allowed his grand plan to calm your fears today? What if you allowed his future plans for mankind to put your present tense into a calmer place?
Read over Mary’s words again. Why not take 10 minutes this week to ponder them deeply. You may enjoy hearing Mary’s words in song. If so, tune in to singer Steve Bell’s website and listen to his rendering of Mary’s song. Here’s the link: https://bit.ly/2E6H4eM
It may just re-ignite your passion for Christmas and enliven a love for that teenager named Mary who helped transport Jesus into a human body so He could save the world and give your life meaning, hope, purpose and peace. Be careful, you may just find yourself on your knees in worship!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Greg Leith is the CEO of Convene. He was born in Canada and lived in all four corners of North America. His career spans over 35 years of senior leadership roles in corporate, non-profit and academic sectors. Recently, he served as Director of Strategic Alliances for 13 years at Biola University in California.