In the United States, we are entering the season in which we will elect a president. What this means is that for the next year and three months we will hear politicians tell us why they deserve the favor of our vote to elevate them to high office.
Before all the hubbub starts in earnest, it might be refreshing to hear another voice, the voice of Mary, the future mother of Jesus, in Luke 1:46. She so humbly said, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” This statement begins what many call the “Magnificat.” Let’s view it for what it really is: a hymn of thanksgiving, the object of which was a poor maiden’s desire to make God larger than herself.
Mary must have understood her selection as the mother of Immanuel the greatest of honors. But even in the hour of honor, Mary makes herself smaller so people can see how immense God is.
This is the opposite of the mindset of many people in our day who are involved in magnifying themselves without regard to God. H. Leo Boles wrote,
“Mary rejoiced in the fact that she was elevated from a state of earthly obscurity, but her deepest joy was in the fact that she was to bring the promised Messiah into the world.”/1
The angel in bringing the news to her about her son said,
“Listen: You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David (Luke 1:31-32).”
This announcement alone might change a human being from a simple maiden to the queen mother of the king, the son of God. But it didn’t change Mary.
Her humility is amazing. Her desire to magnify the Lord was greater than any desire for herself.
This is the kind of person God wants us all to become. Mary’s humility prepared her to accept an honored position without allowing it to change her. She was happy to make God appear larger than herself.
1/ H. Leo Boles, The Gospel of Luke (Nashville, TN: Gospel Advocate Company, 1940).