Read: Luke 1:46-55


My soul magnifies the Lord. (v. 46)

A terrible song. That’s what C. S. Lewis called “The Magnificat.” But he did not mean “terrible” in the sense of critiquing the song’s quality. He meant it in the deeper meaning of the Latin word terribilis and so “terrible” in the sense of terrifying, scary, the kind of thing that makes your mouth drop open in awe.

Think of it: here is this young girl who just found out she will give birth to God’s own Son. She’s been treated with honor by an archangel and was just treated equally honorably by her older cousin Elizabeth. Her head is spinning something awful, but somehow the combination of recent events leads her to sing this song that goes on and on about some pretty dramatic themes. God is going to turn the whole world on its head, sending the proud and the rich away empty-handed even as he elevates the humble and the poor.

The song foreshadows things Jesus will teach. But it also reflects Mary’s own recent experience. After all, she had been the humble and lowly one who has suddenly rocketed to a status she could never have imagined she’d ever have. Apparently, something about all that got into Mary’s head and heart. If it could happen to her, maybe such a reversal of fortune will one day happen to everybody. It made sense to her. And so she opened her mouth and sang this terrible and awesome song! —Scott Hoezee

Prayer: Dear God, we thank you for seeing all people, even the smallest, and lifting them to new heights of your love. Amen.