Heart Full of Joy

Readings: Luke 1:46b-55, Micah 4:6-8, 2 Peter 1:16-21

And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. Luke 1:46b-49

None of us can imagine all of the private thoughts and questions of Mary, but I think of Mary’s expression of what she feels in her heart – namely, joy.

She spends most of the time describing the way God is in general. Her spiritual beauty reaches its emotional peak in the first part of her song where she responds from the heart to all God did for her: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior. Mary mentions what God has done specifically for her as an individual (verses 48 and 49).

I am moved by Mary’s other-centeredness. She doesn’t look at her situation through the lens of her own personal situation. She displays a sense that she is the most privileged and most blessed person for her God given role, even though it would come at a great personal cost. Would there be disgrace? Would she be an outcast? Would she be stoned? Would she be divorced? This is astounding coming from a teenage girl!

I can’t help but ask: What and how did Mary at such a young age acquire such faith and trust? I am reminded and convicted of how important it is to a young person’s life to hear scripture read and to teach and live God’s word around them. Allow God’s word to soak into their hearts. I am so challenged by Mary’s level of complete other-centeredness.

I consider the parallel between Mary and every Christian. Do you and I share in Mary’s joy?

Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

Offered by Donna Eby, worker for the needy, student of scripture, child of God.

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I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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