Making a Big Deal of Christmas
One of my boys asked me, "What does magnify mean?" (We were singing a Christmas song, and the word, "magnify" is in it.) I told him magnify means to make bigger or make a big deal of. Like a magnifying glass. We use it to enlarge or expand something so we can see it better. A dictionary definition (much more professional than my own! Ha!) says magnify means to "extol or laud", to "increase in significance", or to "enlarge in fact or appearance".
In Luke 1, after the angel appears to Mary and tells her she will give birth to the long-awaited Messiah, Mary rushes to the home of Elisabeth. When she arrives, Elisabeth comes out to greet her. As soon as Mary speaks to Elisabeth, the baby in Elisabeth's womb leaps for joy. Elisabeth cries out, saying, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
After this beautiful greeting, Mary declares this song of praise, which Luke records for us, and which has commonly been called "the Magnificat".
Mary says, "My soul magnifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior."
There's that word: magnify.
As I was reading and thinking about this passage, I circled "magnifies" and "rejoices" in my Bible. Then, I looked up at Elisabeth's words and circled, "believed".
We can only magnify or make a big deal what we actually believe to be true.
For example, we believe our kids can do great things, so we make a big deal out of their accomplishments. We want to encourage them in their abilities because we believe they can do it!
We strongly believe in a cause or organization, so we promote it on our social media feeds or to our friends- we make a big deal out of it.
Christmas is a time where lots of things are magnified.
Decorations, store displays, to-do lists, events, schedules, family time, gifts, and so much more.
But why? Why magnify those things? What's the point?
Essentially, we are promoting what we are believing- whether we understand it or not.
What do you actually believe about Christmas? How are you magnifying that this season?
Do you believe it must be about the giving spirt, so you are running yourself ragged to find and get the perfect gifts?
Do you believe it's all about the time spent with friends and family, so you days and schedule is filled to the brim (and possibly overflowing) with events?
Do you believe it's about the pretty things, the decorations, the lights- so you are spending as much time andoney as you can to make that a big deal?
What Mary believed was something much different. She believed that God was accomplishing his promises through her- and indeed he did! He was bringing to pass his long-awaited promise that his righteous servant would save the world. That servant was his very son, Jesus. This was a big deal!
And Mary declared that with her song of praise. This servant would save them. He would deliver them. He would show his strength. He would satisfy the hungry and deliver the poor.
Indeed, this was not just a physical deliverance, but a spiritual deliverance. What Jesus came to accomplish was much greater than a humanitarian effort. Rather, he accomplished what no man could ever do- deliverance from sin and pain and death. Bearing guilt for the guilty. Being crushed in place of those who deserved crushing. Reconciliation between a broken world to its Creator. Peace between the rebellious children and their waiting, merciful, loving Father.
This is the truth Mary was magnifying. Her spirit was rejoicing that hope had come! God's holy name would be exalted and his promise would be fulfilled- and she believed this with all her heart.
This is never more evidenced than later, in the Gospels, as she stood at the cross of the Son whom she had delivered that lonely night in Bethlehem.
As he hung there, bleeding and dying and bearing the weight of the sins of the world in his crushed body, she stood there and watched. Her heart must have been breaking as she saw the pain and agony of her son, her Savior. But, her heart was also rejoicing. For here was being accomplished that truth which she had sung many years before: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation."
Wondrously, the pain of the dying Savior turned into rejoicing as he rose from the dead and is seated in heaven, interceding for us!
This is what our hearts and lips should be making a big deal of this Christmas: "he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name!"
The Savior has come! He lives! He is King! How are you magnifying this truth this Christmas? Are you making a big deal of this so the world can see there is hope? May we slow down and take time to believe, to magnify, to rejoice in this greatest gift, in this reason for the season, in this hope of the ages: Jesus, our Savior.
Let's magnify him today and every day and make this a very Merry Christmas and a hope-filled New Year.
Song for Meditation: