Yesterday, I rested. I went back and forth on whether or not to post a teaching. And the thought was more stressful to me than enjoyable. I needed to extend myself the grace to rest for a day. To not allow the hustle or the momentum of this thing to motivate me. And to know that it’s ok if I post two teachings in one day if that means resting on a Sunday.
Thanks so much for following along and learning with me!
It had been a whirlwind handful of days for Mary. And angel came to her home and spoke powerfully over her life. She traveled to her much older cousin’s home and laid hands on a pregnant belly they both likely thought would never come. And the Holy Spirit was moving powerfully. And dramatically. Babes-in-the-womb were leaping at the sound of her voice and an unseen Shekinah-cloud-of-glory circled round about her as a miraculous and long-awaited-prophetic-conception was finally taking place.
And Mary spoke out in song.
my soul magnifies the LORD
She was unaware of the people around her and began speaking out loud to herself in a way that would make the people around her stop. And listen. And take notice. Her words were an overflow of the overwhelming and spontaneous worship that bubbled up within her. She was declaring the greatness of the LORD. Celebrating in praise the thing that He had done. The same way that the shepherds would shortly after, at the sight of the Babe lying in that manger. And the same way that the previously paralyzed man did the second he stood up and walked. It was the same sort of spontaneous magnification that the woman who had been bent over by disease for 18 years erupted into the moment she stood up straight. And the leper did as soon as he was healed. And the blind man. And the centurion. And the congregation at Jerusalem. And the Gentiles at Antioch. Every single one of them exemplified what it means to magnify the LORD. Speaking in the psalms and hymns and spiritual songs that Paul exhorts us to. But the kind that happen spontaneously. Flowing out a heart that is overwhelmed with praise at the moment of the miracle.
Her soul magnified. And her spirit rejoiced. While that brilliant light-shadow shone, she stood in it. And was exceedingly and abundantly glad.
Because He had regarded her. And looked upon her. She didn’t have much physically. And spiritually, in the presence of that bright light of His glory and covered over by His Shekinah cloud, she was keenly aware of her… littleness when faced with His holiness.
“And because He has seen me and looked upon me,” she said, “Now. At this very moment. He chose to do this miraculous thing. And because of that, all generations will call me blessed.” Just like we call people like Job blessed. And Abraham. Because they persevered. And believed. And refused to let go of Him.
And she continued in her almost subconsciously spoken psalm: “For He-Who-is-Mighty has done great things for me! Magnificent things! Wonderful things that aren’t too wonderful for Him. Glorious perfections and marvelous doings. He has just begun to grow this Babe and show His greatness, and still the knowledge of it stops me in my tracks. Because when He does those too-wonderful things that seem like a dream, laughter spills out. And singing follows on its heels. I just can’t help it.”
And then she says four words that have more weight than I can even begin to understand:
holy is His name
The Holy Spirit came. And the Holy One was conceived. And Holy is His name. A trifecta of holiness that is beautifully represented in the song that the angels sang in the very presence of the Trinity: Holy, holy, holy is the LORD God Almighty. Who was foretold of as the highest-top-of-the-tree-Immanuel. And is now soon to be born. And is to come. In glory. And power. Forever. Holy is His name. Everything that His name represents. And everything by which He makes Himself known to us. It is holy.
It’s take-off-your-shoes holy.
And fall-on-your-knees holy.
It’s rendered-speechless holy.
My soul-and-spirit-magnifies-Him holy.
And casting-crowns holy.
It’s an unprecedented holy. A never-before-seen and never-to-be-even-dreamed-up holy. A holy that belongs to Him. And Him alone.
And when we begin to scrape the surface of understanding, and fearing, that holiness. His mercy is on us. Kindness when we should receive judgement. That manifold mercy that helps me up when I fall. And promotes hope. And leaves a little bit of a lingering headache when I try to wrap my finite brain around His infinite character. And it’s on those who fear Him from generation to generation forevermore.
Mary’s soul magnified the LORD.
And her spirit rejoiced.
And everything within her praised His holy name.
Oh LORD may we truly magnify You during this Advent season. And speak spontaneously in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs and as overflow of the great things You have done for us. As we wait in expectation, may our spirits rejoice. Teach us Your holiness, LORD. Give us a reverence for it. That everything within us might praise Your holy name.