The First song of Christmas/Advent
Anglican Morning Devotion for 17 December 2021Anno domini
a ministry the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. 50And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. 51He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. 53He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. 54He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; 55As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. 56And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.” (St. Luke 1:46-56;all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
“The first Song of Christmas is the Magnificat of Mary, pg 26 of the Prayer Book, that begins with the words of Gospel of St. Luke 1:46-55:
“One can sense the great joy and devotion of Mary in this instant of Thanksgiving Prayer. As I was driving to my office a few days ago in the pre-dawn darkness, the air was cold and pristine. The stars sparkled from a cloudless sky. I began thinking about the innocent young Mary who was visited by the Archangel Gabriel so many years ago in a village called Nazareth. I thought about her being at home doing her daily chores – all alone. She must have been shocked at the warm Light that illumined her in her solace, but she was not overly fearful. I believe the approach of God always gives us a great peace. As I was contemplating this scene, I wondered, “What would have happened had her parents been present?” I’m sure the Angel would have deliberately chosen a time that would be a quiet, solitary moment when He could approach Mary alone. I believe that is precisely characteristic of God and His Holy Spirit. I believe He most often speaks to us when there are no others to distract our attention. His voice is soft and still toward those of His own choosing. Had her parents been present, it is unlikely that Mary would have seen or heard the voice and presence of the great Archangel Gabriel sent from the Father. As I thought on these things, my heart melted with love for her, and her Child, and the Father who demonstrated such great Love to us, and to her.” (AOC Christmas Letter, 9 December 2006 Anno Domini)
The birds of the morning sing most sweetly at dawn and after refreshing Spring rains, too. The dawn of the Gospel follows the shadows and psalmody of the Old Testament. It is quite natural that the shadow should resemble the image of the true form. When we read the Magnificat of Mary, we are reminded of those gentle strains and shadows of the same given in the early scenes of Israel.
Please examine with me the words of the lovely Hannah after God has granted her the desire of her heart (the baby Samuel):
“My heart rejoiceth in the LORD, mine horn is exalted in the LORD: my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies; because I rejoice in thy salvation. 2There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God.” (1 Samuel 2:1-2)
The most beautiful words follow beautiful experiences or thoughts. But beauty needs a purity of environment for its manifestation, and it has found its ultimate satisfaction in the gentle heart of a young Virgin. Her great joy could not have been fully realized at the abrupt revelations provided by the great Angel. But Mary has travelled into the hill country of Israel. On every hand of her journey, she has been reminded by the great and Godly heritage of Israel by the mementos along the way of prophets, kings, and mountains of exceedingly precious events. As she walks the rough terrain into these Great Lone Hills, her heart is fixed on the child conceived in her womb, of the Mighty Angel, and upon the Lord of her salvation! She is overcome with humility and love – humility because she is well aware of her shortcomings and seeming unworthiness for the great honor afforded her and, Love, because she has in her body the manifestation and meaning of Love Itself.
The leading line reads: “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.” Mary had a soul that magnified the Lord as a jeweler’s lens magnifies the excellence of a diamond. Observe that the lenses of a microscope do not alter the structural appearance of its object, but rather bears out the true structure and detail of it. Her soul was open to the nature of the Lord and made it appear large and clear to those who met her. Do our souls do this? Our souls are made magnifiers of the Lord whenever we rejoice in God our Savior! Have you had moments of despair turned suddenly into wonderful experiences of Joy in Christ? If I am sad and down, I can alter that emotion at any time by singing the great old hymns of the church. After a few lines of singing those spiritual and biblical lines, I have forgotten my sorrow and bask in the light and love of God. Try it, my friend! Study the entire text for uplifting Words of Joy.