Can you imagine the Virgin Mary’s puzzlement and awe when Gabriel, the Angel of God, appeared before her? Then even more puzzling and awesome, the Angel announced that God had chosen her to bear His Son!
Immediately, Mary believed him but, naturally, had questions. Gabriel answered, explaining how the Holy Spirit would come upon her or, as many translations say, “overshadow” her.
As Mary took this all in, Gabriel went on to tell her something only Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah knew: that the elderly couple would soon have their first child.
By then, Elizabeth was only three months away from the birth of a son, who would become known as John the Baptist. But, perhaps because of her age or Zechariah’s temporary muteness as a result of his unbelief or because she didn’t know how people would respond after years of taunting her for being barren – for whatever reason, Elizabeth had kept herself confined for six months. Surely she needed help! And, now with child herself, the young virgin hurried to help.
As soon as Mary arrived, Elizabeth’s unborn baby jumped for joy. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth exclaimed over Mary, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42.)
With unimaginable joy and awe, Mary burst into praise. And that prayer became known as the “Magnificat,” which comes from the first line of the prayer as translated from its original Aramaic language into Latin, “Magnificat anima mea Dominum.” When translated into English, the Magnificat joyously proclaims, “My soul doth magnify the Lord.”
Luke 1:46-50, from the King James Version (KJV)
And Mary said,
My soul doth magnify the Lord,
And my spirit hath rejoiced
in God my Saviour.
For he hath regarded
the low estate of his handmaiden:
for, behold, from henceforth all
generations shall call me blessed.
For he that is mighty hath done
to me great things;
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on them
that fear him
from generation to generation.
From the Book of KJV Prayers – actual prayers from God’s Word collected by Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2019, from the King James Version of the Bible
Luke 1:46-50, in contemporary English
With all my heart, I praise You, Lord!
What favor You have shown!
From now on, every generation
will call me blessed
because of the great things
You have done for me.
Holy is Your Name!
In every generation,
You give mercy upon mercy
to all who honor You.
From the Book of Bible Prayers – actual prayers of the Bible collected from a variety of translations and paraphrased by Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2019
May you have a blessed Christmas and 20/20 vision in a joyous new year.