This week's advent reading devotionals focus on Mary's Song. Missed the first devotional for this week? No worries, you can read it here.
Here's the second reading for this week:
Can you think of a time when you were so overwhelmed with joy, you could barely contain yourself? Perhaps for a child, it might be receiving that one gift you have dreamt about. Maybe your favorite sports team finally won that long-sought-after championship. Perhaps you just received the call that you are being offered your dream job. Or perhaps the doctors have told you your loved one is going to be okay, despite how things had initially looked. What would you do in such a situation? You might throw a party, or perhaps you would shout for joy at the top of your lungs. Or perhaps, you would just spontaneously sing a song.
Well, the latter is the option Mary, the mother of Jesus, opted for. She decided to sing a song. But, what was her joyous occasion? We read in Luke 1 that the angel Gabriel told Mary that she would be the mother of a son who will be named Jesus. This child will be the Son of the Most High God. After hearing this news, Mary left to visit with her cousin Elizabeth who was also expecting a child. Elizabeth felt her baby leap for joy at Mary’s arrival. This prompted Elizabeth to say, “Blessed are you among women” (Luke 1:42).
Mary, overwhelmed with a sense of awe and joy as to what was taking place, broke out into a song of joy. Mary’s song is often referred to as the Magnificat, the first word of the Latin translation, which simply means “magnify.” This song is one of the most famous songs in Christianity. It has been whispered in monasteries, chanted in cathedrals, recited in small remote churches by evening candlelight, and set to music with trumpets and kettledrums by Johann Sebastian Bach.
Mary begins the song with these words:
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;” Luke 1:46–48
Mary’s heart and soul were flooded with an array of emotions, leading her to rejoice because God has “looked” upon her. The word “looked” can also be translated as “to be mindful of.” Mary was blown away that God would be mindful of her, a simple and unknown girl. Mary was a young, poor, country, unmarried girl from Nazareth. Yes Nazareth, that place of which Nathanael asked, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Yet in God’s eyes, she is seen as valuable and loved.
As you enter into advent during this season of waiting, may you be reminded that just as God was mindful of Mary, he is mindful of you as well. If ever there was a reason for celebration, it is this. Our God loves you and is mindful of you, yes you. In fact, our God so loved the world that he gave the greatest gift ever, his only son Jesus Christ. For all who believe in him will not perish but have eternal life. Friends, this is a reason to celebrate, perhaps even break out into a song of joy!
Think of the many times God has been mindful of you. What are three ways you can be mindful of others this week? Perhaps you know a family you could bless with food or clothes. Perhaps you could write cards to someone who is lonely. Call a friend to say hello and let them know you are thinking of them. Trying going out and doing some of the things you thought of.
God we praise you that you have been mindful of us. We celebrate that you sent Jesus to us. May our hearts and our mouths be filled with songs of praise for you this season and always. Amen.