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.”

Mary’s Song of Praise: The Magnificat – Luke 1v46-55

We’re halfway through Advent now. Christmas is in the air. As I write this, I even have A Christmas Prince on in the background. “It’s a most wonderful time of the year” after all 🤷🏻‍♀️

The third Sunday of Advent is traditionally associated with joy. Really you don’t get much more Christmassy than that. Everything about Christmas seems to be linked to feelings of joy, from smiling families gathered around the table through to snowball fights in a winter wonderland. (How many pop culture references can I get in today!?)

Yet that isn’t the real joy of Christmas. It is not about the turkey or the lights or the snowball fights. The clue is in the name – CHRISTmas.

One person who really understands that joy, and the clearest demonstration of joy in the Nativity story, is Mary. The Magnificat is an absolutely beautiful exclamation of joy at the blessing that God gave Mary. Yet the joy that she is singing about is not directed towards herself and her good news. Instead, she sings about God, His mercy and His glory. By directing our focus back to God, she shows us who the true source of joy is. In fact, Mary mentions herself in only the first five lines before spending the rest of the song describing everything that God has done for Israel.

You might have read all this and thought, “Great for Mary. So happy that she was so joyful!” Yes, that’s meant to sound sarcastic because I know not everyone feels joyful in the lead up to Christmas. But the thing about the Magnificat is that the news isn’t just good for Mary. That’s why she spends so much of the song praising God for what He has done before, to show that we all have reason to rejoice.

More importantly, we cannot forget the reason that Mary is singing in the first place. She is celebrating that God has chosen her to be the mother of the Messiah. For us, as we look towards Christmas, Mary’s story reminds us that this is the source of our joy too. For without Christmas we would have no Easter Sunday filled with hope. So today, share in Mary’s joy at the coming birth of Jesus.

Joy || Third Advent Sunday