There is one story that my mother told me when I decided to become a pastor. She told me that when I was still inside her womb, I would do a lot of movement when the song “Doxology” is sang in the church. She said that during those times she would pray that her first born would become a pastor. Her prayers were honored by God, and I would always remember that story when there are challenges in my life.
The account of Luke tells us that when Mary visited Elizabeth, the baby inside Elizabeth’s womb (who would later become John the Baptist) leaped. Elizabeth then pronounced in a loud voice: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear.” What followed after the greeting and the pronouncement was a revolutionary song sang by Mary. It is popularly called the “Magnificat” a Latin word that means “Magnify” from the first line of the song “My soul magnifies the Lord.”
A Baptist author, Walter Shurden wrote that when you read the lyrics of this song, you “sniff the powder of dynamite.” Indeed this first Christmas song is one of the most revolutionary Christian document ever written. Mary as we can see in this song is probably not as demure as the religious arts would portray her. The song is powerful and forceful. Luke was able to record it later because most probably Mary would sing it always. Sadly, we know the lyrics but not the tune anymore. Although there are a lot of musical interpretations that you can see in YouTube.
The Magnificat teaches us three things:
First, we should sing songs praising God.
Mary teaches us that God uses lowly people like her. She portrayed herself as a lowly servant yet when she said yes, God used her mightily. In this sense, when we say yes to God, He will use us in ways that we cannot even imagine. Our response to God is to praise Him, and we can beautifully do that through songs.
Second, we should sing songs that tell about the values of the Kingdom of God.
There are a lot of Christian songs but sadly, not most would move you into action. Luke 1:51ff tells us about the values of God : “He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;he has brought down the powerful from their thrones,and lifted up the lowly;he has filled the hungry with good things,and sent the rich empty away.” If we dare to sing the Magnificat, then we are obligated to show it in our lives and in our actions that we are for freedom and justice, and to protest against any law or policy that does not embrace life, nor give life.
Third, we should sing songs declaring God’s faithfulness to His promises.
Mary sang a song that proclaims that God is true to His promises. God fulfilled His promises to Abraham and He would continue to do so. In this way, Mary is teaching us that when we sing or listen to songs, let us remember the faithfulness of God in our lives.
Let us dare sing the Magnificat!