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Jesus: Our Everlasting


Hope: Magnifying All That God Has Done and Will Do

Saturday, December 9 | Emmalie Ellis

Today's Reading

Luke 1:46-55

Known in Latin as the Magnificat (Latin), this passage in Luke records Mary’s song unto God ("my soul magnifies the Lord") after visiting with Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, about her unexpected visit from the angel Gabriel. We see a theme littered throughout Mary’s words: "...he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant…" "He has performed mighty deeds with his arm…" "He has filled the hungry with good things.." He has, He has, He has.

The Good News delivered to Mary caused her to reflect on the goodness of the Father. The promised Savior, both figuratively and literally, filled Mary with hope. She remembered the covenant made years and years prior to that moment between God and Israel. She recounted the Lord’s faithfulness to her and her people thus far. She rejoiced, knowing that her God was and is trustworthy, mighty, merciful, just, and worthy of her soul’s utmost praise.

I’m reminded of Charles Wesley’s "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus." The words to the old hymn read:

Come, thou long expected Jesus,

born to set thy people free;

from our fears and sins release us,

let us find our rest in thee.

Israel's strength and consolation,

hope of all the earth thou art;

dear desire of every nation,

joy of every longing heart.

I imagine that Mary had thoughts similar to these lyrics throughout the duration of her pregnancy. Even as she looked back on the faithfulness of the Lord in her own life, Mary knew that His plans were not yet complete. There was something even greater still on the horizon. The Lord was not done yet, and Mary was carrying the evidence!

Our hope in Jesus Christ is different than any hope this world can offer us. It’s not a mere wish left up to chance that may or may not happen. Oh no — this hope is rooted. This hope is trustworthy.

So how are we to respond to the Magnificat? What does this mean for us this Christmas season? We can begin by following in Mary’s footsteps. May we eagerly praise the Lord for all He has done, all He is doing, and all He will do! Our hope in Jesus Christ is different than any hope this world can offer us. It’s not a mere wish left up to chance that may or may not happen. Oh no — this hope is rooted. This hope is trustworthy. This hope is not fickle and will not fade because it’s not dependent on our ability. Mary knew this; she had learned about and seen evidence of the Lord’s faithfulness time and time again and knew with certainty that the hope she had in the coming Savior was not misplaced. Oh, that we would confidently place our hope in our Savior, not just today, but every day!

Make no mistake, maintaining hope is no easy task — it would be remiss of us to pretend that Mary’s life was not without heartache, doubt, and trials. She experienced great joy, yes, but unthinkable pain as well. The world around us is in disarray; without an unwavering source of hope, everything becomes startlingly bleak. As believers, we have access to the only hope that can provide this kind of security, an eternal hope that cannot be shaken by the circumstances around us, the same hope Mary clung to so tightly. Praise be to God!

Mary’s song ends beautifully. After describing the many ways she has witnessed the Lord’s faithfulness, Mary adds these words as a reminder: "...just as he promised our ancestors." Just as He promised. What the Lord said He would do, He did, and the same rings true today. "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess," says the author of Hebrews, "for he who promised is faithful" (10:23). How have you been a witness to the Lord’s faithfulness this past year? How have you seen evidence of the unshakable hope we have in Christ? How can you intentionally share this hope with others as you go about your upcoming Christmas celebrations?

As we reflect together on the deep-seated joy of Christmas, as we are reminded of the birth of the long-expected Savior, may we hold fast to our hope in Jesus Christ. May each of us lift up our own songs of praise unto the Lord during this season. He and He alone deserves all glory and honor, both now and always.

Emmalie Ellis serves as the Assistant to the Dean for the Global Studies and Pre-Professional Programs at Dallas Baptist University.

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