As she stands alone in paintings of the Annunciation, the reality that Mary received God’s favor is portrayed. In Nicolas Poussin’s 1857 painting, God’s blessing upon Mary is reinforced by the dove descending from above. In her words of praise, Mary seems to be remembering this moment and the great things God has done for her. Yet in wisdom beyond her teenage years, she knows the birth that is months away is not just about her, but about all who fear God and hope in God’s promises.
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever.”
~Luke 1:46-55 (NLT)
As you read these verses do you notice the shift from me to we? God has and continues to show mercy to all from generation to generation just as mercy was shown to “his lowly servant girl.” Christmas invites each of us to make a shift from me to we. The Psalmist echoes the second part of Mary’s Praise.
Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him,
on those who hope in his steadfast love,
that he may deliver their soul from death
and keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and our shield.
For our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us,
even as we hope in you.
~Psalm 33:18-22 (ESV)
This Advent season, as you and I move from me to we, may we share with others our hope in the Lord our Savior.