There was once a time when the world knew not of its Savior. Yet there was hope because it had been foretold that a child would be born and called Emmanuel – God is with us. In Lent, we prepare for his coming anew. During this season, we discover for ourselves the call of salvation and the promise of eternal life.
In the months leading to the birth of her son on the day we now commemorate as Christmas, Mary visited with Elizabeth, an older cousin. Elizabeth was also being blessed with a miracle birth. Her baby would grow up to be John the Baptist, the man who called from the wilderness to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord.
When Elizabeth first saw Mary approaching her, she called out:
“Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42)
The expectant mothers embraced in joy. Then Mary said:
“My soul magnifies the Lord.” (Luke 1:46)
With a single sentence, Mary conveys the purpose and privilege of being her child’s mother. She goes on and offers her praise to God with the Magnificat, the Song of Mary:
“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;
For he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate;
He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy,
As he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
Her song of praise reflects the mission of Mary as a mother, a mission all parents share: to acknowledge the blessing God has given us with a child; to know that the purpose of our life and our child’s life is to love; and to embrace the faith that our love and our children’s love will reign eternally with God in heaven.
Just as Mary magnified the Lord with the birth of Jesus, we, too, magnify God with the children we bring into the world. In that way, the birth of every child is Christmas. And we can sing in praise just as Mary did:
With this holy child, Lord, I do magnify!
These Gospel stories are re-imagined in the book series:
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