My Soul Magnifies the Lord: Our Personal Magnificat

26 Dec

Screenshot 2013-12-26 10.32.21The Magnificat, as it has come to be known, is Mary’s beautiful response to the angel’s message that she would be the earthly mother of the Messiah. Magnificat comes from the opening stanza, “My Soul Magnifies the Lord.” These few words are pregnant with meaning and deserve to be studied and pondered, as Mary pondered the words of the angel in her heart.

First, Mary says MY soul magnifies the Lord. MY. A small word that proclaims ownership, often selfishly. One of the first words a child learns is “mine,” and seems to reflect that human trait that longs to possess, to hold tightly. But here Mary talks of her soul. She acknowledges that it is hers in the sense that she has a responsibility for it, as we all do. This very personal soul that God the Creator breathed into humanity comes with an accountability. It is my soul, but I must give an account of how I used it in service to my Lord. Mary says, MY soul magnifies the Lord. A wise and humble choice.

My SOUL magnifies the Lord. Our soul is that spiritual home within our earthly bodies where meaning is made and our daily existence has eternal consequences. Without a soul we are merely creatures, but a soul gives us spiritual eyes to see as God sees. Within our souls significance is given to our choices, and here Mary chooses to magnify the Lord with her soul.

My soul MAGNIFIES the Lord. To magnify is to makes something larger; to put focus on it so that it can be observed and studied in detail. This soul-choice to make the Lord bigger echoes John the Baptist’s statement that “he must become greater, I mut become less.” That is Mary’s acknowledgement in the Magnificat. Mary reminds us to magnify Him, not ourselves. Whatever greatness I think I may have, it is nothing in comparison to His majesty, wisdom, love, and holiness.

In His gracious love toward us, there are times when God turns the magnifying glass toward us. In the Book of Common Prayer, the translation states, “For he that is mighty hath magnified me.” We often take the credit and bask in the acclaim, when it is the Lord who should get the glory.

My soul magnifies THE LORD. As Mary heard the news that she would carry the infant Savior, the very God made flesh, she rejects any notoriety that may come her way and turns her heart toward acknowledging the Lord who chose her from obscurity to carry the Christ child. A Lord is a ruler or king, and at the birth of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, we must recommit ourselves to acknowledging His lordship in our lives.

The Magnificat is not merely a beautiful hymn to be read as part of the Christmas story, but a regular reminder to humbly and gratefully and intentionally put our souls in right order; to magnify Him who has chosen to bless us with His coming.

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