By Denise Loock | November 28, 2017
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. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus … the Son of the Most High” (Luke 1:30-32 ESV).
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.”
God may have delivered Mary from her fear immediately—before she told her parents, Joseph, or her friends about Gabriel’s stunning announcement. Or her fear may have subsided over time.
Prayer Of Praise
What we know is that Mary expressed no fear in her prayer of praise recorded in Luke 1:46-55. In fact, Mary says her spirit was full of joy: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. … For the Mighty One has done great things for me” (vv. 46-47, 49).
She could’ve been drowning in shame and depression. After all, even though Gabriel said the Holy Spirit had come upon Mary, how many people believed that—before or after Jesus’s birth? (Consider John 8:41.) What rumors spread throughout Nazareth when people learned Mary was pregnant? What insults were hurled her way as she walked down the street?
People may have thrown shame on Mary, but her prayer confirms her unshakable trust in God. She chose to magnify Him and to celebrate His goodness regardless of what circumstances indicated or people said.
To magnify someone is to praise the person so highly that others honor him or her 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 the Messiah.
You may not feel very thankful this year. Has fear or shame 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 rests on you too. He can deliver you from all that seeks to squelch your joy and hope.
No matter how you feel today, choose to say with Mary, “My soul magnifies the Lord.”
Next Step: Read Mary’s prayer in Luke 1:46-55. At the end of verse 49, list several “great things” God has done for you recently, then magnify His goodness by telling others about it.
For more inspiration and encouragement Visit Denise at http://www.digdeeperdevotions.com