God’s love for the “lowly” is evident throughout the Christmas story – a poor virgin, shepherds, and a baby’s bed in a feeding trough – and Mary is so moved by this vision of how God works that she breaks out in this beautiful song.
She focuses on God’s greatness, His mighty deeds, and His cosmic rule. It ought to follow that this mighty God values and seeks out mighty men, right?
That’s not Mary’s God, and it isn’t our God. In God’s upside down kingdom, the humble and poor are exalted and the haughty and prideful are brought down.
This is God’s form of justice, of giving people what they deserve.
What I want to want is to see the world as God sees it, to “do justice” as we’re challenged to do in that often-quoted passage from Micah 6:8.
How do I even begin to think about giving something back to God when I am so often the source of injustice, of being haughty and prideful myself, of being blind to the needs of those around me?
God’s plan for the world always involved Jesus. Jesus didn’t come to exercise justice through punishing the prideful. He came to bear the punishment. When he went to the cross, He took on God’s judgement, freeing us up to respond with obedience.
When we praise the God who sees everyone through the lens of His Son, Jesus, as Mary did, we gain eyes to see as He sees.
What changes our affections, and thus our behavior, is what captures our emotions and desires; our imagination is captured by what we praise. It shapes who we are.
Praying the Magnificat can change who we are and, therefore, the way we see the world and the people in it.
So, join me in praying:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
If a song helps you do this more effectively, enjoy this version of the Magnificat by Rain for Roots.
By Lisa Bond