“The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God’” (NIV).
The best gifts come from a giver who really knows the recipient. Awareness of the needs and wants of the individual is the key ingredient for accuracy. This knowledge is intimate in nature and provides a keen sense of discernment that speaks to the heart. The giver and the receiver share a connection through the gift exchange that benefits both parties.
The Song of Mary in Luke 1:46-55 describes the gift of God to humankind in the form of his dear son, Jesus the Christ. Mary, like Hannah (1 Sam 2:1-10), acknowledges her receipt of this gift by proclaiming in song her joy and amazement. Also known as the Magnificat, this hymn of gratitude expresses her personal, prophetic, praiseworthy and promise-keeping thoughts towards God.
• Personal—Mary’s first words consisted of a personal statement of worship and praise for God through magnifying and rejoicing.
•Prophetic—Mary receives the words of her cousin Elizabeth, who calls her the “mother of my Lord” (v. 4). This part of Mary’s song humbly embraces others in posterity who will call her blessed because of God’s gift (vv. 48-49).
•Praiseworthy—Mary focuses on the character of the giver of the gift (vv. 49-53).
•Promise-keeping—Mary notes God’s faithfulness in the past to Israel and his promise to be with them forever (vv. 54-55).
As we give and receive gifts of all kinds this season, let us reflect on the tailor-made details of Christ. May we see the individual and collective gift that Christ is to us and willingly share it with others.
Virginia Ward, D.Min.
Assistant Professor, Youth Ministry and Leadership; Assistant Dean, Boston Campus