“My Soul Magnifies the Lord”
The greatest Christmas song in history was not written by Nat King Cole or Irving Berlin. The greatest carol is not “White Christmas” or “Silent Night”. The greatest carol written was composed 2,000 years ago by a pregnant teenage girl, named Mary.
She sang her song and it has been sung ever since. In the first stanza of Mary’s song, she sang, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” Her song is in response to the joy expressed by Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, upon Mary coming to visit her. “My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” What did Mary mean when she exclaimed, “My soul magnifies the Lord?” I think we gain some clarity by asking, “What does a magnifying glass do?” A magnifying glass makes objects look larger. When Mary sang, “My soul magnifies the Lord,” she wanted to make God look larger so that people could see God at work. She wanted to draw attention to God. More than anything else Mary’s soprano voice focused attention on what God was doing. Mary’s song magnified God who does the impossible.
On the night that Gabriel the angel appeared to Mary and told her she would be the mother of the Messiah, she asked, “How can this be?” Gabriel’s response was “With God nothing is impossible.” Gabriel’s response became the first stanza of Mary’s song. She magnified God with whom nothing is impossible.
What are the places in our lives... in our world that have “impossible” written on them? Where are the broken places of our hearts?
A Presbyterian pastor served several small churches in western Pennsylvania, shaped by coalmining. He spent much of his time serving communion in the simple houses of his discouraged parishioners, bringing some Good News into their gray and grim lives. At one point, at the beginning of his ministry, this pastor decided to stop by the county dump and collect some bits and pieces of trash. He was a skilled craftsman and he took the garbage home and made it into a chalice and a plate to be used when he served home communion. When he visited with people, he told them the history of the chalice and plate and said, “This is what God is in the business of doing. God takes lives that seem useless, broken, thrown away and then makes them over into vessels of beauty – vessels through which God ministers to the world. In the face of the impossible, how are we magnifying God?