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By Pastor Paul Gauche

Today’s Word: ‘Magnificat’ as in…  the ancient song that begins with these lyrics: “My soul magnifies the Lord…”

A popular local radio station well-known for featuring classic hits for roughly 46 weeks out of the year switches to “All-Christmas-All-The-Time” from the middle of November through December 25th. At any hour of the day you’ll hear Christmas favorites from the likes of Elvis, John Legend, Kelly Clarkson, Perry Como, Faith Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Michael Bublé, and even Yogi Yorgesson singing “I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas…”

But there is one song you won’t hear. It’s called “The Magnificat” which is Latin for ‘Magnify’. And it’s a song that’s been on repeat for millions of Christ followers of centuries upon centuries.

Long ago and far away a young girl by the name of Mary was inspired to sing this song. What is remarkable, however, is that while her song was inspired by angst and terror, she was also filled with a deep sense of hope, peace, joy and love. The Magnificat is Mary’s joyful response to the announcement that God would partner with her to gift the world with the Savior, the Messiah, Jesus.

Read these words first from the New Revised Standard version:

Luke 1:46-55

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Now read Mary’s response again, this time from the imagination of Eugene Peterson in the Message Bible:

I’m bursting with with God-news; I’m dancing the song of my Savior God. God took one good look at me and look what happened—I’m the most fortunate woman on earth! What God has done for me will never be forgotten, the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others. His mercy flows in wave after wave on those who are in awe before him. He bared his arm and showed his strength, scattered the bluffing braggarts. He knocked tyrants off their high horses, pulled victims out of the mud. The starving poor sat down to a banquet; the callous rich were left out in the cold. He embraced his chosen child, Israel; he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high. It’s exactly what he promised, beginning with Abraham and right up to now.”

Take some time today to listen to this song of joy. Read the words in both translations and notice especially what catches your attention. What words or phrases stand out for you? How do you find joy in the midst of this season of Advent?


Paul Gauche is the Pastor of Life Transitions at Prince of Peace. His posts are part of his #100days50words project, where be blogs about a different word each day. You can follow his project on Instagram (@pgauche), or on his blog, Thriving Rhythms.

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