Above is Nicolas Poussin’s Annunciation painted in 1657. This moment when Mary receives God’s news from the angel Gabriel reminds me that the mother of the world’s Savior was the first person in the New Testament to hear the Gospel. Moreover, after she goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth, these words of praise pour forth from deep within her soul. Whatever doubts she might have had about whether or not this God with her moment really happened are gone and her faith is declared with these lyrics.
And Mary said,
I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.
During this first week of Advent, take to ponder this painting and Mary’s magnificent words of praise. How has Mary’s “God with her” moment been significant in your life? When did you first hear the Gospel? Was there then and is there now a new song of praise God is giving you? Will you surrender to and sing the lyrics of your faith?
He taught me how to sing the latest God-song,
a praise-song to our God.
More and more people are seeing this:
they enter the mystery,
abandoning themselves to God.
Blessed are you who give yourselves over to God,
turn your backs on the world’s “sure thing,”
ignore what the world worships;
The world’s a huge stockpile
of God-wonders and God-thoughts.
~Psalm 40:3-4 (MSG)