There are many different responses, to brilliant news: from tears of joy to shouts of excitement; from uncontrollable laughter to a Mr Bean dance. When Mary found out she was going to have God’s Son, she bursts into song and pens the first ever Christmas carol.
It’s a heartfelt response, but perhaps surprising initially. We might expect Mary to be rather worried: the shame on the family and Joseph, that an unmarried, pregnant, young Jewish woman would bring would be significant. Yet, as we saw last week, Mary trusts God. She was having his Son, and He’ll be an eternal King – that was very good news regardless of what anyone else might think.
In her song, Mary reminds us of how merciful God is, and how the first Christmas was the fulfilment of promises made long before.
Mary has been specially chosen, but who is the clear focus of her song in vv46-56?
What does she sing about God’s character?
What does she call God in vv46-47, and what is also striking about her referring to Him as both Lord and God?
What does she sing about God’s actions: past, present and future? (The tense in the original Greek infers events that are so certain, they can be portrayed as past realities – ie, Jesus has the final victory!)
Mercy implies there’s been a judgement. Who does Mary warn are unlikely to accept God’s mercy, and what are is their dire reversal of status?
Mary trusts God’s promises: the Son she’ll bear, but ultimately what other promises is she trusting?
That as you understand more of God’s mercy and your salvation in Jesus, that your soul and spirit would rejoice like Mary.
That you’d trust God with his plans for your life in 2015, no matter how hard or extraordinary they might seem to you.
Pray by name for those you know who’ll hear the gospel for the first/umpteenth time this Christmas, that they might be humble enough to accept God’s mercy as He draws them to Jesus.