WEEK 3: GIVE THANKS FOR LIFE / DAY 17: BLESSING
By Pastor Courtney Hall (Tue. Dec. 14, 2021)
Four “canticles” of Christmas distinguish Luke’s gospel with discrete passages of prophetic praise redolent of similar Old Testament texts. These hymns highlight how the Messianic BLESSINGS predicted in the Hebrew Bible are fulfilled in the advent of Jesus’ arrival. The first of these is Mary’s “Magnificat” (Luke 1:46-55) in which Mary declares how her soul “magnifies”—that is, rejoices in and proclaims the goodness of—the Lord for how He has blessed her in the eyes of all generations.
In mood, structure, and content, Mary’s poetic proclamation parallels Hannah’s Old Testament song of praise in 1 Samuel 2:1-10 upon the birth of her son, Samuel, a great prophet and priest of ancient Israel. Much like Mary’s cousin Elizabeth, Hannah’s inability to conceive a child had brought her great sorrow. With fervent prayer, Hannah asked the Lord to grant her a child. When He did, she exalted His name for that blessing and praised His nature for regarding the humble, shaming the haughty, and bringing justice to “the ends of the earth” through the Messianic promise of “His Anointed One” (1 Sam 2:10). Over a thousand years later, Mary’s song extols God for much the same thing, because “His Anointed One” (that is, His Christ) was alive in Mary’s womb!
Taken together, the songs of Hannah and Mary unite the two testaments of the Bible in a single continuous blessing of God’s Name for fulfilling His glorious purpose of human salvation. Through our Savior Jesus, God has blessed you and I also with the opportunity of new life within us (cf. Luke 17:21; John 3:3-16). This eternal life flows “like rivers of living water from [the] innermost being” (John 7:38) of all those who trust in Him. GIVE THANKS TO GOD FOR ETERNAL LIFE today! Truly, there is no greater BLESSING from God!
SCRIPTURE READING: Luke 1:46-56
"And Mary said: 'My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for He has been mindful of the humble state of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me--holy is His Name. His mercy extends to those who fear Him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and His descendants forever, just as He promised our ancestors.' Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home."
(See also 1 Samuel 2:1-10.)