In the Gospel of Luke in the Bible, is a song which Mary, the Mother of Jesus gave us, when she learned that she was chosen to be the mother of Jesus. Mary had been prepared to be the channel that would give birth to Jesus. Not only was she of the right blood line and lineage to be Jesus’ mother, but her faith was manifested into the world through her actions of love, humility, compassion, strength, and belief in God. Mary shares her excitement about her pregnancy with her cousin Elizabeth, and as a result of that conversation, Mary’s response to Elizabeth became what is known as Mary’s “Magnificat.” Here is the text of her song and response to Elizabeth:
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. As he spoke to our father. And his mercy is for those who fear him.
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 helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. A-men.
The themes that are brought out in Mary’s Song are what we think about in connection with Advent. We are all waiting for the messiah to come, and with this there is an anticipation of hope, excitement, and joy. In Mary’s song text, “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” we understand that Jesus’ birth brings us the message of hope through Jesus’ commitment and concern for those who were less fortunate, who were oppressed by those in authority. This message is very important for us as we walk through Advent, remembering those around us who are oppressed, and bringing them the message of hope through Jesus’ love, care and concern.
In Mary’s words, Mary takes the focus off of herself, and places the focus back on Jesus, and on his ability to bring hope, joy, and love into our world. She is the vehicle through which this will happen. She knows that we often fail in our attempts to be what we should be, yet, God’s message to her was one of affirmation, encouragement, strength and hope. Jesus did not go to those who were haughty, powerful, or rich, he specifically went to those who needed him most, and in doing so, he set the example for all of us to follow. The material world did not apply to Jesus, he was not concerned with successes achieved in the world, but instead with internal/eternal hope, peace, justice, joy, compassion, and love. God continues to demonstrate his love and compassion for us, as he has in the past, through our present, and as he will continue to do into our future.
WHY SHOULD I LISTEN TO THIS MESSAGE THROUGH MUSIC?
Music is another way of hearing Mary’s words. Sometimes we can read something, and it doesn’t really sink in until we experience the words in a more meaningful way. Perhaps it happens by putting the words into actions that we do. Maybe it occurs when we are moved by the power of the music, and as we experience that power through our tears, or our own personal thoughts, it moves us to take the message of Advent deeply into our hearts to think about what we might do to further express our hope, joy, peace, love and faith with others around us. Mary was the vehicle that God chose to deliver his son to our world. This causes us to ask, “How might God have chosen me to be his vehicle to bring light, love, joy, hope, and truth, into the world?” In listening to this music, and thinking about all of this, you may hear his voice and receive an answer. God calls us to honor who we are as his children, and to believe in his truth, his hope, and his love. Today in the world around us, we really do matter! Our thoughts, what we believe, our truths, and what we hold to be sacred matters. Just as Mary believed that she would and could carry the son of God, we too can believe that God can use us in the world around us, in our families, and in our church. This is the true message of Advent, God’s love manifested through us, to and for others, through Jesus.
Christ Church Chancel Choir presents Magnificat, Dec. 4, 7 p.m. in the Christ Church main Sanctuary.