Christmas decorations in our house include candy canes, soft lights, and puffs of cotton made to resemble snow – cutesy stuff. Now, there is nothing wrong with that (I suppose). But when I read Mary’s song of praise in Luke 1:46-55 (see below), I am also reminded of the subversive nature of Christmas. For example, Mary thanks God that He has “scattered the proud,” and “brought down the mighty from their thrones” (1:51-52). Mary, that sounds almost… well, treasonous! I wonder what Herod would think of Mary’s song.
Mary continues, “[God] has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty” (1:53). Wow! How’s that for some Christmas spirit? Here’s the point: If Jesus is Lord, then Caesar is not. If Jesus is truly Lord, then the “rich” and “proud” are no longer in power. Mary understood that Christmas meant a great reversal of power. The humble would be exalted; hungry would be filled. Our Christmas celebrations certainly can include snowmen and peaceful manger scenes, but let’s not forget that Christmas also calls to account anything in our lives that may, however subtly, compete with Christ for our hearts and allegiances. I don’t know if you’re like me, but this is a Christmas challenge that I need to hear often!
Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat
Luke 1:46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; 52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”