Luke 1:46-47 And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior"
There is one question on the minds of many people at this time of year, although it takes many forms, it could be summarized in this way: What would it take to make this best Christmas that there has every been? Or perhaps, What do you really want for Christmas?
So, what is it? Some warm weather? Ice off the roads? A quarrel that finally comes to an end? What is it? Itís usually not the Rudolph tie, or the ronco vegamatic -- but there may be a few things we could list. What they are depends on who you are, but the bottom line, is what is it that leads to to rejoice. It is not hard to hear the spirit of the world speaking, If you donít deserve it, who does? If you donít take care of yourself, who will?
Thus the way to rejoicing, at least from the worldís perspective begins with ME. I am important. I want this. Clear the clutter, and make room, for me, I demand a lot of room. Notice me! When we were younger, we believed that if we only had this or that, then we would be popular, that people would gather around us. There is no doubt that we indeed felt lonely, even in a crowd; but I do not believe that we really wanted to be at the center, mostly we just wanted to be a part, to fit in, to belong.
The problem is that this leads to lives which are vain hollow and without purpose. After all what good does it do to gather people around you, if you donít have some where to lead them? What does it accomplish to boast about all you have done, if nothing else, it tends to push people away. And if the only way you know to lift yourself up is to put people down, how high can you climb? Not even out of the gutter. It is not hard to gather all sorts of things, but it is hard to find things which continue to bring us joy, lift our spirits, and cause us to rejoice.
And that is why Christmas never comes for many people. They try doing all the things that people are supposed to do, but in the end all they feel is disappointment. You see, sin always leads to disappointment. When I make my name great, thatís pride, and that kind of pride is sinful. It is sinful because I am taking the glory and honor that is owed to God, and keeping it for myself. And the things we look for to lead us to rejoicing, if they do not lead us to sin against our neighbor with envy and covetousness; then they lead us to sin against God, so that we are not thankful for our daily bread [thinking we had a taste for something else].
And this is what brings us to our text: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior" - For this is a recipe that will truly prepare us for the greatest Christmas we have yet seen. How does it begin? It begins with worship, praise and adoration, for all that God is, for all that God has done, and for all that God in Christ has promised us, some of which is yet to come. My soul magnifies the Lord - this means we donít boast about what we have done, but rather about what God has done. Its not like God "needs" it, it is really that we need it. We need to be a thankful people, we need to remember that when we were lost and condemned sinners, God gave his son into death for our sins, to pay our debts and to give us life, forgiveness and peace. Its as though some people go through life with their eyes barely open, so they can never take in all that there is to see. My soul magnifies the Lord - its kind of like opening your eyes real wide, and all of a sudden, God is not distant, but very close at hand, working every day in all our lives.
The second part of the prescription is this: my spirit rejoices in God my Savior - It might not sound like much, but thatís only because we have not really heard the words? But ask a heathen, what kind of a God are you going to meet when you die. The universal answer is this. When I die I will meet God who is the judge of all creation. This is the God who sees you when youíre sleeping, knows when youíre awake, knows when youíve been bad or good so be good for goodness sake. All this would not be bad, if it were not that we all make mistakes [thatís how people prefer to talk about sins]. But the question all the world wants to know is how can you make peace with God, and make up for even one mistake? What price do you have to pay, so that you are not condemned? This God of wrath, the condemning judge is what the rest of the world thinks of when they think about God, and they wonder how will they find mercy and forgiveness.
What gets us ready for Christmas, and what leads us to rejoice is that we know of a God who is "God my Savior" - we know that in Jesus blood, all our sins are washed away and that we have the peace of God which passes all understanding. So in the words of our text may all your souls magnify the Lord, and all your spirits rejoices in God our Savior.