[The following devotional is a part of our 2014 Advent Devotional Guide. We will be posting a devotional each day on this blog between November 30 – December 31, 2014.]
Mary Christmas Song by Mark Robinson
Read: Luke 1:46-55
What does it LOOK like for someone to worship God through song? Would they be singing loudly? Would they be quiet and reflective? Would their hands be in the air? Would they be kneeling on their knees?
The truth is, that even though we all have images in our head of what it looks like to “really worship,” outside appearances can be deceiving. It is totally possibly to “look the part” on the outside, but actually be self-focused, not God focused on the inside. That is why God looks not at outward appearance alone, but at the heart. It is totally possible to be deep in worship in any one of the postures or volumes listed above. After all, it is what is going on inside us that best expresses our heart of worship.
In Luke 1:46-55, there is a passage that clearly depicts a person who is deeply engaged in worship. It is a song that was spoken by Mary to her cousin Elizabeth in response to all that God was doing in her life. This song includes within it a great example of worship:
- Mary begins by orienting her worship from the inside out. It is “her soul” that “magnifies the Lord.” Her body was probably in a posture of worship, and emotion filled her voice . . . but those were products of a heart that was intent on focusing on God and not herself. We begin worship when we lift God high, from the inside out.
- Mary also begins her worship by marveling at, and praising God for saving her life, and for involving her in His plans. She does not come to God with a haughty attitude, but stands back in awe at the notion that the God of the universe loves her that much. Early in a time of worship, we should reflect on this amazing fact as well . . . God has taken notice of us and uses us in His plans on the earth. May we never grow tired of hearing this wonderful truth!
- Mary continues by declaring that God has been at work to provide relief for His people, fulfilling promises from ages ago. Mary worshipped God who was making good on promises that were nearly 2,000 years old at the time she first sung . . . harkening all the way back to God’s promises to Abraham. When we worship, we can pray to God and trust Him to make good on all His ancient promises to His people as well that we still reap benefits from today. Promises to be with us no matter what. Promises to forgive us our sins based on what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. Promises to one day come back to this earth and judge evil and re-establish paradise in a new heaven and new earth. We can worship God and praise Him based on the promises He has made to us through His Word.
- Mary’s song may appear spontaneous, but it is really populated with at least a dozen Old Testament references. Mary’s previous study of God’s Word provided the very vocabulary for her worship. We too study God’s Word to learn the language of God, and even more reasons for us to praise Him. Far more than an academic exercise, study of the Bible is a primer for worship.
Mary’s song is an often read passage at Christmas time for good reason. It is a wonderful, faithful response of worship from the heart of a person fully following God’s plan for her life. May God’s preservation of this song help each of us see an example of what it looks like to worship at Christmas time and throughout the year
- What do you think it looks like to worship God?
- What can you learn from Mary’s song about worshipping God?
- Spend some time worshipping God in prayer based on the model of worship laid out by Mary in Luke 1:46-55.