Read again Mary’s song of praise in Luke 1:46-55:
“And Mary said: ‘My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me; and holy is His name. And His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him. He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble. He has filled the hungry with good things; and sent away the rich empty-handed. He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever.’”
As mentioned in last week’s article, this song is often called the Magnificat because of the key word in the opening phrase, “My soul exalts the Lord.” Exalt or magnify means to make great. Mary’s response to all that was happening was a deep desire to make great the Lord’s name.
Mary magnifies the Lord because He intervenes as our Savior to set things right. He does this to keep His word—He is faithful. Nearly every word in the last stanza of Mary’s song puts a spotlight on the Lord’s faithfulness to His promises.
“He has given help to Israel His servant, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his descendants forever” (Luke 1:54-55).
The word “remembrance” speaks of keeping His covenant with His people. He is not a God who will forget His promises or who will neglect His covenant.
“Mercy” is the great Old Testament word, hesed. “Hesed” or “mercy” speaks to His loyal love and covenant faithfulness. This word reminds us that keeping His word comes from the core of God’s character. He is the covenant-keeping God.
“As He spoke” is a reference to His word, to His promise to Abraham. Thus, Mary celebrates the birth of Jesus as a promise kept. The Lord is faithful to His word, to His promises.
In Genesis 12, the Lord promised Abraham that all the nations will one day be blessed through his family. The New Testament tells us that Jesus is that promise kept. Through Jesus, the Son of Abraham, people from every tribe and tongue and nation will come to know and worship God.
Paul says, “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the Gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations will be blessed in you’” (Gal. 3:8).
This promise to Abraham is one of the reasons we focus on global missions at Christmas. Jesus was born to be the Savior of the world. The wise men came from far away to worship Him. Every time you see the wise men at Christmas—in a pageant or a nativity scene—remember that they serve to remind us that God promised to bless the nations through Abraham. Jesus is His promise kept.