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A Song from the Heart: Luke 1.46-56

Have you ever had a song stuck in your head?  Here at Christmastime some crazy songs can get stuck in our heads like, “I want a hippopotamus for Christmas…”  Music can speak to us like nothing else does.  Aristotle taught how music heals our emotions.  We can communicate through song when we cannot communicate any other way.  Mary puts into song what’s in her heart.  This is Mary’s response.  Mary invites us in and speaks from her perspective.  Where are we in this song?  What would we speak to God?

God gives us reasons to celebrate.

                    46And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,

These are words from a teenager.  God speaks to us at all different stages of life.  Mary’s song begins with, “my soul magnifies the Lord.”  She is singing from the depths of her being.  She wants to make large and increase the glory of the Lord.  This is what it means to magnify, to make God large.  This is a habitual act, not just a one-time song.  Mary cannot stop praising God.  At what point does a magnifying glass stop magnifying?  It doesn’t.  Mary cannot stop praising God.  Hopefully you have experienced some part of this.  Are you filled with praises to God?

“My Savior” is making a personal statement but Mary doesn’t yet fully understand what it means.  This reminds us of the song, “Mary Did You Know?” by Mark Lowery.  “The baby you delivered will soon deliver you.”  Mary is overwhelmed.  She has a sense of anticipation.  What is God doing?  As Christmas approaches, what is God doing?  We have a sense of anticipation too.   There’s reason to celebrate!

God sees us.  This is a reason to celebrate.

                    48for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.  

God has looked on Mary and noticed her.  The US Census Bureau says there are 7.6 billion people on the planet.  This morning we’ll have about 500 people join us for worship on this campus.  There’s 7.6 billion people on the planet and Mary says God noticed her sees her.  We know what it feels like for God to notice us too.  Mary is thankful for her part in what God is doing.  What God is doing in Mary’s life is a core part of the Christmas story.  God, thank You for my part in what You are doing in this world!  God shows us how He wants us to be a part of what He is doing.  God wants to use you and transform and restore people.  Mary sees she is known by God.  The Puritans said the greatest joy in life is to be known by God.  God knows you.  God knows your heart, your desires, and God knows what He wants to do in your life.  In John 10 He is the Good Shepherd.  He says His sheep hear His voice and God knows them.  God knows you.  Mary is overwhelmed because God knows her. 

God does things for us.  We can run past this one too easily.

                    49for he who is mighty has done great things for me,

We are in the season of Thanksgiving.  We are thankful for what God has done for us.  For example, imagine a Mother’s Day card a child made at school.  The child says, “I love you mom because you do things for me.  You make good pancakes.”  There’s a true love in knowing that there’s someone who knows us and takes care of our needs.  We are thankful for God who knows us and does things for us.

In Zephaniah 3 the Israelites are captured and their city is destroyed.  God rebuilt the city and restored them.  God is mighty and has done great things for us.  God sings over us.  God shouts for joy over us.  God celebrates!  Parents do many things for their children.  Imagine what God does for us.  God sings over us and likes to use His power over us.  When the Israelites left Egypt they were only about 70 people.  God parted the sea to restore them and they became a great nation.  Think about God’s power and ability to restore us. 

God forgives.  This is one of the greatest things!

                    50And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.

Mary has been speaking in the first person but now she invites us in.  “For those who fear him,” that’s you and I.  We are those who follow Him.  She recognizes that her baby isn’t just for her but for all of us, for every generation, for the future.  God still brings new babies into the world today. We have hope because God forgives from generation to generation.  As we look forward to Christmas, celebrating when Jesus came and walked among us, restoration is the reason God came down. 

God uses His power for good.

                    51He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;

God has chosen to use His power and strength to restore us.  God chooses to enter our lives and restore us.  The “scattering of the proud” are those who depend on themselves, those who live by their own devices.  Who does not fear God?  Who does not follow God?  We all have turned away, gone astray and chosen our own way.  We need the grace of God.  God has grasped the attention of all of us.  The Holy Spirit of God shows us what we are doing isn’t right.  The Spirit says, “This is not your future, not who you are.”  God steps in and shows us He wants us to follow Him.  God shows His strength.  The words translated, has shown strength” is an unusual construction in language here.  It’s difficult to translate into English.  Mary is speaking about what God will do in the future as if it has already happened.  She doesn’t even know what this baby Jesus will do.  Jesus will give His life for our sin.  He will be placed in a tomb and three days later He will rise from the grave in victory for all.  Mary has beard from the Lord.  God has shown His strength.  This is not just Mary’s song but it’s our song too.  It’s difficult to have this great confidence because we know ourselves.  Even when we cannot see it yet, we can proclaim God will restore us and make us who He has created us to be!  This baby has come to restore us and make us whole.  Can we sing this song together today?

God keeps His promises.

                    54He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”

Mary speaks of a God who keeps His promises.  She connects it back to the past, the promise to Abraham.  King David praised God even when his life was falling apart.  God made promised to David, Abraham, Mary and to you and I as well.  He will restore us.  These promises are still there.  This story resonates with us.  In the movie Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer promises are kept. 

Rudolph discovers the Island of Misfit Toys and Rudolph has an epiphany.  He promises to go back to Santa to tell about them and he does.  He kept his promise. How much greater are the promises of God as we think about Mary?  She has great confidence because she knows God knows her.  She couldn’t see the future and neither can we.  I will sing praises and lift up my voice.  I will trust that what God has done in the past will be done today in my life.

Sermon Notes are taken, transcribed and posted by Jeni Martin Johnson.


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