My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;

my spirit rejoices in God my savior.

for he has looked upon his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:

the Almighty has done great things for me,

and holy is his Name.

Since becoming a wife and especially a mother, I relate more personally to Mary’s famous words in today’s Gospel passage from Luke’s first chapter. It’s important that we read this entire passage in its proper context. Mary’s “magnificat” comes on the heels of her kinswoman Elizabeth’s greeting. Already in just these first few opening lines of Luke’s Gospel, we have witnessed the Annunciation, Mary’s hastened visit to Elizabeth, and Elizabeth’s immediate recognition of the Savior dwelling in Mary’s womb. I can recall with great awe the first times my husband and I felt our unborn sons move within me, their tiny limbs shifting. The awe we felt was tangible. It helps me in some small way to understand the profound joy our Blessed Mother felt in trying to comprehend her role in God’s amazing plan of salvation.

Rather than relaying her personal fears, the challenges she will most surely face or her qualms about what could possibly be happening within her, Mary sings a song of praise to the One who has begun a good work in her. With her servant’s psalm, Mary reminds us to sing our own “magnificat”—to witness to God’s faithfulness, mercy, and love even in the midst of our own small day-to-day trials.

When was the last time that my soul truly “rejoiced” in all that God does for me on a daily basis? Advent is the perfect time to turn our gaze upward, to sing our own psalm of gratitude, and to proclaim to the world around us the greatness of our Lord.

Lisa M. Hendey is the founder of and the author of The Grace of Yes: Eight Virtues for Generous Living.

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