And Mary said:
“My soul exalts the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave;
For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed.
For the Mighty One has done great things for me;
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is upon generation after generation
Toward those who fear Him.
He has done mighty deeds with His arm;
He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones,
And has exalted those who were humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
And sent away the rich empty-handed.
He has given help to Israel His servant,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and his descendants forever.”
And Mary stayed with her about three months, and then returned to her home.
// Luke 1:46-56
This famed passage has been called “The Magnificant” because of how Mary magnifies the Lord for what He has done in her life. This Magnificant reveals the state of Mary’s heart, and we have much to learn from Mary.
This song of Mary’s is replete with magnifying the Lord for how He treats those who humble themselves before Him. According to Mary, the humble gain His regard, receive His great mercy and arise by His hand to a place of exaltation. When we praise, when we celebrate, we exalt ourselves in Him – we lift ourselves up and arise in all that He is. He, in turn, raises us up to the place where He has called us to live. Our praise of Him demonstrates our humility before Him; the humble praise Him because they can see that He has lowered Himself to lift them up. Who wouldn’t praise a God like that?
Mary’s Magnificant also shows us how to magnify the Lord, how to increase Him in our view. To magnify Him in our eyes we praise Him: we exalt Him, we lift Him up. When we see Him “high and lifted up” like Isaiah did, we are lifted up too; praise has the power to elevate us to be seated beside Him. With a new, better vantage point from which to see Him, He is made larger in our eyes than we’ve previously seen Him to be.
Magnification and exaltation is all about perspective and vantage point. It’s not that God gets bigger, and it’s actually not that we need to get smaller – He bows low to exalt the humble, which means we, in fact, get bigger. But when we magnify Him and we start to see just how big He really is, it enlarges our hearts. He increases in our eyes and we decrease, in that we lose ourselves in the exaltation of all that He is. We lose our wrong perspectives and gain His perspective.
This is how grace changes us. He raises us up to see Him differently, and better. The larger He is in our experience, the bigger we become in Him and the more we grow in Christlikeness. Just as Mary was able to magnify the Father when the Christ Child was still so small in her womb, so must we learn to praise God as He does the smallest of things in us. Our praise of Him helps facilitate His growing influence in our lives.
Sometimes, in our process of growth in the Lord, it takes a while for us to see visible evidence of what He is doing in us. But that doesn’t mean we cannot still magnify the Lord’s goodness and exalt ourselves in Him. This Advent we can choose to say, “My soul exalts the Lord and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior”.