Mary was an ordinary teenager living in a nondescript village when the angel Gabriel arrived on her doorstep with an extraordinary message: “You have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son … the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:30-31).
Mary’s initial reaction to her angelic visitor and his message was fear. Luke 1:29 says she was “greatly troubled.” Gabriel sensed that fear and said, “Do not be afraid” (v. 30). In other words, “Don’t worry, Mary. God’s got this.”
Perhaps God delivered Mary from her fear immediately—before she told her parents, Joseph, or her friends about Gabriel’s stunning announcement. In her prayer of praise that Luke records in verses 46-55, Mary expressed no fear.
In that prayer, Mary says her spirit was full of joy: “For the Mighty One has done great things for me” (vv. 46, 49). She could’ve been drowning in shame and depression. Although Gabriel said the Holy Spirit had come upon Mary, many people probably didn’t believe that—before or after Jesus’ birth. (Consider John 8:41.) Rumors may have spread throughout Nazareth when people learned Mary was pregnant. Insults may have been hurled her way as she walked down the street.
People may have thrown shame on Mary, but her prayer confirms her unshakeable trust in God. She chose to magnify Him and celebrate His goodness regardless of what circumstances indicated or people said.
To magnify is to praise someone so highly that others honor that individual with greater esteem. Think of the times you’ve praised the services of a doctor, a mechanic, or a plumber when someone has asked you for a reference. That was Mary’s desire—to motivate others to esteem and praise the merciful, powerful, attentive God who had honored His promise to send a deliverer.
You may not feel like celebrating Christmas this year because fear or shame has ensnared you. Maybe a loved one has died, a job has been ripped from your grasp, or false accusations have destroyed your reputation. Perhaps you simply dread spending another holiday season alone.
Learn from Mary. Refuse to focus on what is wrong and what could go wrong. Wait confidently for God to extend His mercy and perform mighty deeds on your behalf. His hand of blessing is upon you, and He can deliver you. Choose to magnify the Lord.
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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