Bernie Diaz, December 5, 2017
A Spanish proverb reads “An ounce of mother is worth a ton of priest.”
As secular proverbs go, that’s not bad. Though I am the first to criticize Roman Catholicism’s blasphemous worship and veneration of Mary, earthly mother of our Lord Jesus Christ, many protestants in their backlash to Roman doctrine, fail to give Mary the credit she is due in the legacy she left the church with her life, particularly with the birth story of King Jesus, which gave us perhaps the first biblical, Christmas carol ever written- Mary’s ‘Magnificat.’
‘Manificat’ is a Latin word referring to the magnificent song of praise that Mary offered up to God for His grace, goodness, power and mercy in not only choosing her for salvation, and for her people of Israel and for all believers to come, but for her being chosen, to actually give birth to the Lord and Savior of mankind as recorded in Luke’s gospel (Lu.1:46-55).
The story behind this song or inaugural ‘Christmas Carol,’ is that Mary and Elizabeth her cousin, were pregnant and got together for a chat as pregnant women often do, comparing notes.
Elizabeth, a very mature woman at the time, was in her sixth month carrying none other than John the Baptist, who would be the relative (second cousin) of our King and she realized just looking at Mary and speaking with her, that she was carrying God in the flesh, which by the way, is an acknowledgment in a real good illustration of the sanctity of the unborn life in God’s economy. Just saying.
I wonder if the ladies reading this post might reflect on their reaction had they been chosen for the role of biological mother of the incarnate, creator and sustainer of all life in the universe today? What would be their prevailing emotion? Anxiety? Overwhelming joy?
Well, as verse 37 of Luke’s opening chapter states, mother Mary understood that “nothing will be impossible with God”.
So, this young Jewish adult- perhaps a teenager in our vernacular today, delivered a great song of praise and joy – a magnificat that centers on four things that we can be worshipping about and singing praises to God for, as carols during this Christmas season:
A Joyful Song of Salvation (Lu. 1:46-47)
“Christ was content with a stable when he was born so that we could have a mansion when we die.”
When was the last time you sang a thanksgiving song of praise to God for your salvation? Christian, aren’t you happy or blessed, thrilled and awed that God called you and chose you to be born-again at the just the right moment in time and space?
I think about and do periodically pray thanks to God for the wonderous work of salvation he has wrought in me, by virtue of his sovereign and divine grace. The theological ‘ordis salutis’ (order of salvation) not only tells me that God saved me in Christ, but my ‘Abba Father’ also adopted me as his own, justified me, sanctified me, redeemed me and reconciled me to himself in peace. Mary gratefully rejoiced in that (1:47).
A Joyful Song About God’s Grace (1:48)
If you’re not overjoyed about your salvation today as a Christian- you ought to be. You should be joyful because you know that God loves, perfects and disciplines a humble servant as necessary. That’s grace, which is literally a gift of favor, an unmerited favor. There is nothing, we have in us that deserves such grace and there is nothing we can do to earn it.
Do you know that you stand in front of a holy and just God? Does that humble you? It humbles me – even at jolly Christmas time. I fear God, I have great respect for Him and am in awe of Him as Mary was. And, I know He loves me and gave me the greatest Christmas gift anyone could ever have or even imagine – Himself, the gift of God wrapped up in a manger to die for me. That humbles me and gives me Joy at the same time!
A Joyful Song About God’s Power (1:49, 51-53)
God is unconventionally supernatural isn’t he? If there is anything predictable about God, it’s the fact that he’s unpredictable. Isaiah said ‘his ways are not our ways and his thoughts are not our thoughts.’ Praise God for that. Paul tells us in Romans 11 that His judgments are unsearchable and His ways are inscrutable.
Who else but God, could conceive of and then providentially carry out such a Christmas plan? God incarnates himself as his son, through his Holy Spirit by way of a virgin birth in a relatively indiscriminate little town called Bethlehem. Really? Yes. To ‘him be glory forever amen.’
A Joyful Song About God’s Mercy (1:50,54)
Mary’s Christmas carol pays tribute to God’s loving mercy as a parallel to his grace and as opposed to what we might expect as unredeemed rebels- justice. She sings about the mercy of God, emanating from his perfectly holy and righteous character to not give us what we deserve.
What do sinners, moral lawbreakers that offend a holy and just God everyday deserve? The Bible tells us that the “wages of sin is death, and we’ve all sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God (Ro. 6:23; 3:23). “None is righteous” the scripture says, “no not one.” Yet, God is still good and merciful to us. Might that deserve a vocal chorus or two in a godly Christmas carol?
Do you want a reason or reasons to get really excited about Christmas – something that will last longer than the dress or shirt you have to take back to the store in January?
How about Christmas joy for: God’s gifts of salvation; grace, power and mercy? All that and more God chose to give us in the flesh, through a godly and courageous young woman named Mary.
I think some of the best gifts are those that meet needs- don’t you? Ponder this one in this Christmas season:
If our greatest need had been information, God would have sent us an educator; If our greatest need had been technology, God would have sent us a scientist;
If our greatest need had been money, God would have sent us an economist; If our greatest need had been pleasure, God would have sent us an entertainer;
But our greatest need was forgiveness, so God sent us a Savior.
That news- the greatest ever given to mankind in the history of this world, deserves songs of joy does it not?
I thank God for giving us Mary this Christmas, not for being a ‘Queen of the Universe,’ or some sort of super-saint or co-mediator of the gospel as some others teach, but for simply being a faithful woman and vessel for carrying and then wisely caring for, God in the flesh, our ultimate Christmas gift.