❝The angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and he will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father.’❞ Luke 1:30-32
Reflection by Liz Williams
I don’t know if Mary was a fan of surprises. If she was, I’m not totally sure that hearing she was going to be pregnant–and with God’s Son–and all before she was married, was an easy thing to hear. How would that look?
Mary’s response was fear, followed by confusion, and ending with praise. When she was greeted by her cousin Elizabeth and the full impact of this surprise was felt, Mary was full of praise, of all things. When I get unexpected news, my reaction varies; it depends on the news, right? But what if I came at it–all of the surprises–like Mary, with love and praise? How would my life be different?
My grandmother passed away 3 years ago. She was 94 years old, and it was time. Her death wasn’t a surprise; she had been heading that way for some time already. The hardest part of losing my grandmother was not her actual death, but the dementia that crept up on us all. It was her not remembering who I was that hurt the most. That was the unexpected. I never thought that dementia would be the way of my grandmother.
After each visit or hearing of how she was doing, there was grief. She was my beloved grandmother and I wasn’t ready to lose her like this. But then I would remind myself of the great love she had for Jesus. In those moments, I echoed Mary. I went from fear and confusion of losing my grandmother, to praising the Lord for the time we had together. Praise for the promise of Heaven for her. It was a monumental shift for me. It’s now a process that I try to work through in most situations in life.
The Magnificat is one of my favorites sections in the Gospels. It is the song of Mary where she praises God for all the good things in her life, even knowing how hard it will be to raise his son. It’s a beautiful song, and so incredibly powerful.
My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
for he as looked with favor on 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.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel,
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
The promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.