“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.”
Life has felt so hard, lately, hasn’t it? I know I am complaining from a very privileged position. Out of twenty-six extended family members, only six have had Covid and all have recovered without hospitalization. Ken and I still have our work and it is work we have always enjoyed doing. I’m not in danger of losing my house or missing a meal. Yet, it feels like I’m slogging through heavy mud just to get through the day. It’s pandemic fatigue and it has touched all of us in one way or another.
Into our struggle, the beautiful words of Mary’s Magnificat ring out. Think about her situation as she sings her praises to God. She lives in a small village and she is betrothed to a village boy who has a trade as a carpenter. Rome continues to breathe down their necks on a regular basis. Mary receives a visit from the angel Gabriel who tells her she is going to have a baby even though she hasn’t known a man! What??? AND this child will be the Son of God; he will be a holy child. I cannot even imagine what getting news like that would do to my equilibrium. Talk about unprecedented!
Mary seems to take it all in with a calm acceptance: “let it be with me according to your word.” She journeys to see her cousin Elizabeth because the angel has told her Elizabeth is also with child. Upon Elizabeth’s confirmation of Mary’s holy and unusual pregnancy, Mary sings to God. Mary sings to God.
What a difference it can make in our lives when we live from a place of gratitude! What a difference when we can see the holy in the midst of all the unprecedented and unsettled things that are going on. Somehow, with faith and courage, Mary managed to do that. She recognized that God had chosen her for a very special task. She accepted the task and went about her life. Even Joseph, after his own angel visitation, accepted Mary’s role and his role in this holy endeavor.
Mary sings of the wonder of God and in the earliest verse of her song she sings “for the Mighty One has done great things for me.” She is able to recognize that God isn’t just doing something to her; God is always doing something for her.
That is an essential truth of our faith. God is always doing something for us – great things for us. God has provided us with a way through this pandemic because God has provided women and men with great minds and our country with great resources so that a vaccine is developed. Even now, God is doing great things for us by protecting us in a variety of ways as we travel in unprecedented times in the great darkness of a pandemic.
When we feel like we are slogging through mud, let us call to mind the song of Mary and remember our God who has done and is doing and will continue to do great things for us. Even as we walk in darkness, we can see the light of the holy and live with gratitude and joy.