I have a lot of favourite Christmas hymns and songs. They change frequently depending on my mood, but I have one or two ultimate favourites. This year it’s “Be Born in Me” by Nicole Nordeman. I’ve noticed that a lot of my favourites have Mary at the centre. Upon reading a recent devotion, I felt challenged to look deeper into why I am drawn to these songs, so I went back to where it all started , Mary’s Song or The Magnificat ( Luke 1: 46-55).
Timothy Keller referred to Mary as the first Christian, not in the sense of the first person saved or the first believer, but in that she was the first person whose life was CHANGED by message of Christmas. “My soul magnifies the Lord”, Mary sings, revealing the very core of her being. When I think of the soul, I think of something far greater and deeper than the warm fuzzy feeling I get when I sing, ‘O come all ye faithful’ or even “Joy to the World”. Mary’s response to the news of her pregnancy reveals a transformation of epic proportion.
Mary sings God’s praises throughout the Magnificat. He is holy and merciful. He is powerful, mighty and he will come to bring peace, restoration and wholeness to his people. She sings of his covenant with Abraham. His promise. Mary’s song reveals a heart that understands a need to live with God in faith personally and corporately. She begins by singing about what God has done for me and then shifts to what God will do for Israel. Like Mary, we must respond in faith personally. We must also join ourselves to His people. What God has done for Mary; He will do for all His people.
As 2020 approaches and I reflect on the year past. God is a God of history. He is timeless. God never forgets. God always remembers. I realize I cannot go back. Mary could only look forward and take the next right step in faith.
We were created to fulfill a different agenda. God’s agenda. Mary’s song reminds me that everything matters. God is not only concerned for my spiritual salvation, but He is also at work in the comprehensive restoration of the world. God’s agenda is aimed at striking every last vestige of humanity’s sin. Mary’s song reveals the church’s mission to share in God’s mission and play a part in restoring all life. We can never go back to the way we were.
Mary sings ‘let it be to me according to your word” (Luke 1: 38). Mary’s yes to God reminds me of my response. The words of Nicole Nordeman’s song echo, “I am not brave, I’ll never be… I am willing, I am yours”. A heart that’s changed. She sings “I’ll hold you in the beginning, You will hold me in the end. Every moment in the middle, make my heart Your Bethlehem.” My goal for the coming year is to continually conform my life to the pattern of Mary and her song of kingdom justice. Every moment of every day, my prayer is ‘be born in me’.