I currently have a love-hate relationship with glitter. My interactions with glitter go something like this:
Whoa! That is so shiny and sparkly. I love glitter. I am thoroughly mesmerized by its spectacularly dazzling qualities.
Oh, some came off on my finger.
Oh man, now it’s on my face, and I can’t get it off.
Day 43 of glitter on my face despite vigorous scrubbing. I have come to accept this sparkly freckle as a permanent part of my existence. Perhaps I shall name it Annabelle.
But the truth remains that glitter draws attention, and I’m a sucker for its scintillation every single time. This time of year brings out all of the spectrums of glitter, and you can’t help but notice all of the Christmas displays and stand transfixed at the brightness.
Since it is Christmas time, I purposed to keep my mind and soul in the Christmas spirit all season and not be caught up in the trappings of Christmas but to truly try to worship the Savior all season long. My first point of meditation for Christmas was on the passage that has become known as Mary’s Magnificat, Luke 1:46-55.
And Mary said,
“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.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
He has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
in remembrance of His mercy,
as He spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
This passage is rich with so many good truths and praise of God. You could conceivably spend a long time meditating on each phrase individually and really be overwhelmed by its impact. Most of all, I think I’ve been continuously struck by the very first phrase: “My soul magnifies the Lord.”
What does it mean for your soul to magnify the Lord? The nerdy, cynical part of me says it’s not possible to magnify the Lord because He is all-powerful and bigger than any human mind can even begin to comprehend … and magnification is sort of a false process. You’re not actually making anything bigger, you’re just giving it the appearance of being bigger. You can’t possibly do that to God.
Ok. So, you can’t actually magnify the Lord. But I ask again, What does it mean for your soul to magnify the Lord?
My Soul Magnifies
Does your soul make the Lord bigger or smaller? John the Baptist, Jesus’ cousin, gave us the simple formula for magnifying the Lord. He said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” There are two parts to the equation then: me decreasing, and Him increasing.
Humility = me decreasing. Do you cultivate humility in your life? Do you from the moment you wake iterate and reiterate your utter dependence on God to the exclusion of dependence on self? That action cultivates humility. Pride contends with supremacy with God. Humility releases the need to do anything but accept the sovereignty of God.
Praise = Him increasing. I often put God in a box. I want Him to fit in there so that I am comfortable with how He works and I can feel as if I can control what happens. Did you just hear how ridiculous that statement sounds? As if any one of us could put God in a box to feel in control. But realistically I make God so much smaller in my mind than He really is. I label circumstances as impossible, but what may seem impossible to me is well within God’s realm of simple reality. Nothing is impossible for Him. No sickness, no agony, no pain, no unpleasant circumstance, no prayer request is impossible for Him. So, lift Him up and praise Him for the infinite God He is! Magnify Him in your heart and soul!
I have never been able to comprehend that Mary was giving praise for the Son of God who would be born through her. Her Lord, the Sovereign of the world, would also be the tiny little baby that she would swaddle and lay in a manger. It blows my mind to think about it.
“Favor with God meant that she was put out of favor with man.”
The Lord never quite works how we expect Him to. Earlier in the Luke 1 passage, the angel comes to Mary to tell her that she will bear the Son of God, and he calls her favored one. Now, if I were defining what it would mean to be one favored of God it would look a lot different than the way Mary’s life looked. Favor with God meant that she was put out of favor with man. From the outsider’s perspective, it looked like Mary had conceived out of wedlock, and possibly not even with her fiance’. Mary lived with the stigma of this her entire life. I would’ve expected favor with God to mean untold blessings and goodness, not a life of being misunderstood by everyone. But Mary knew that it was more important for her to humbly allow herself to be misunderstood by everyone else in order to submit to God’s will and to be used by Him to bring about the salvation of the whole world through the virgin birth of God’s son. Again, mind blown.
As you’re making your Christmas preparations this year, put up your trees and decorate them and place presents under them and enjoy the season. But as you see the glint of glitter out of the corner of your eye, let it remind your soul to intentionally magnify the Lord in every possible way this season.