A Pilgrimage Fueled by Hope: Mary’s Song
By Sharon W. Betters
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” -Luke 2:45-47 ESV
Though Mary never met Hannah, Mary’s song of praise parallels Hannah’s worship song. I like the idea of Hannah “mentoring” Mary through the record of Scripture and now Mary mentoring millions of women through the scriptural record of her response to the miraculous birth of Jesus. Both women are calling back God is sovereign and we can trust Him. Though you may struggle to find a living “spiritual mother” nearby, God has provided women like this through Scripture whose own stories can mother us in our most isolated pain.
Hannah’s song is similar to Mary’s Song of praise, also known as The Magnificat (Latin for My Soul magnifies the Lord), and is one more example of how hiding God’s Word in our hearts prepares us for those crises that change the course of our lives. Shortly after the angel announces to young Mary she is pregnant (even though she is a virgin) and her baby is to be called Jesus because “He will save his people from their sins,” Mary runs to her cousin Elizabeth.
Elizabeth is experiencing her own miracle birth. Elizabeth and her husband were childless and had given up hope for a baby when an angel announced Elizabeth would indeed bear a son. Elizabeth’s son is also a miracle child with a special calling. Her son is John the Baptist. I love how Mary runs to Elizabeth, an older woman Mary clearly trusts to help her navigate this terrifying but exhilarating change in her own life pilgrimage. Mary’s time with Elizabeth fuels her pilgrimage with hope so much so Mary breaks out in this beautiful song of praise that parallels Hannah’s worship song. I wonder if Elizabeth reminded Mary of Hannah’s song or if they sang it together as they talked about their miraculous pregnancies. Once more, I invite you to carefully read these words and imagine you are peaking into Mary’s journal. Watch for similarities to Hannah’s song:
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.” -Luke 1:46- 54 ESV
Father, we are on holy ground as we step into these intimate moments experienced by Mary and Hannah. The parallels between these two women and their responses to Your purposes encourage us to trust the truth of Your Word and to see our own circumstances as our platforms for glorifying you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sharon W. Betters is author of Treasures of Encouragement, Treasures in Darkness and co-author of Treasures of Faith. She is Director of Resource Development and co-founder of MARKINC.org, a nonprofit organization that offers help and hope to hurting people. Sharon enjoys quality time with her husband, children, and fourteen grandchildren.
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