Summary: The song of Mary can become our song too as we allow the Holy Spirit to form Christ in us.
THE SONGS OF CHRISTMAS: The Song of Mary
Luke 1: 46-56
1. If we were to compile a list of as many songs of Christmas that we know or have heard, I imagine we would be able to come up with quite an extensive list.
• I did a search on Yahoo under the keywords songs of Christmas and it pulled up 55 million websites – by refining the search I was able to narrow it down to 137,000
• The list included everything from songs like “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth”, “Frosty the Snowman” , “Grandma Got run over by a Reindeer” to “Ave Maria”, “O Holy Night”, and “Handel’s Messiah” and everything in between.
• Some are just frivolous and silly and give us a good laugh; others have the power to transform human hearts from self-centeredness to God-centeredness, to give hope to the discouraged, comfort to the sorrowful, and strength to the weary.
2. As we prepare to celebrate again the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ into our sad and broken world, I want us to look at the songs in Scripture that surround that joyous event. The one we will examine this morning is the song of Mary.
3. So what do we know about Mary who sings this song?
• There is uncertainty about exactly where she was born – some traditions say Jerusalem, some say Nazareth. However, she was born to Joachim and Anna – members of the Davidic line - and grew up as part of the staunch Jewish community living in the dry Galilean hills surrounding Nazareth.
• The uncertainties of living in this area included the unpredictability of rain along with invading locusts and field mice to destroy crops and so learning by experience a strong reliance on the Lord and His provision was absolutely crucial.
• Her daily responsibilities as part of a rural Galilean family would have included grinding wheat and barley into flour, preparing dishes of vegetables, nuts and mutton, baking bread, spinning wool and making clothes, and fetching jars of water from the well for cooking and washing. There would also be a few chickens and a donkey to feed. Some of the crops to be sown and harvested in the area would have included wheat, barley, olives for food and oil for their lamps, figs, grapes and pomegranates.
• In spite of their land having been conquered and ravaged for centuries by one super power after another – the Babylonians, the Assyrians, the Persians, the Greeks, and now the mighty Romans - together with the people of Nazareth, Mary would have had a deep and strong faith in God’s promise to one day send His Messiah who would free Israel from its enemies.
• The Lord who heard the cry of His people in Egypt and mightily came to their rescue through Moses would certainly one day do so again. The God who had shown Himself over and over throughout their history to be on the side of the poor and oppressed and defenseless would not forever delay in showing His salvation.
• In a culture where women were barely noticed, except as a wife and mother, around the age of 15, Mary’s parents took the customary step of arranging her marriage and the man of their choice was Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth, to be her husband. Following the engagement ceremony, Mary returned to live at home with her parents for about a year when she would then go to live with her husband.
4. And that’s when it all happened! The visit by the angel Gabriel, the announcement that she had been specially chosen, hand picked by God to bear His Son Jesus – His Messiah – who would establish a Kingdom that would never end. The power of the Holy Spirit would conceive the child within her womb without any human intervention for His arrival would signal the end of the old human race of Adam and be the first of the new race in Christ.
5. Mary is understandably overwhelmed, troubled, confused and needing another caring, understanding, and wise human to talk to.
• Trying to explain a private angelic visit and an immaculate pregnancy even to her parents and Joseph or anyone in the small community of Nazareth would not have been a wise move.
• With the amazing news that her cousin Elizabeth, had conceived and was already 6 months pregnant when she was way past child-bearing age, Mary knew instinctively that was where she was to go.
• Elizabeth’s joyous, affirming, and prophetic greeting as Mary entered the house now released the song from Mary’s heart that has become known as “The Magnificat” from the opening words in Latin, “Magnificat anima mea Dominum,”—“My heart magnifies the Lord.”