God Exalts the Humble, Even at Christmas
46 And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit
rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has looked on the humble estate
of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me
blessed; 49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and
holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is for those who fear him from
generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he
has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; 52 he has
brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble
estate; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he
has sent away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, in
remembrance of his mercy, 55 as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham
and to his offspring forever.”
Mary doesn’t come right out and say it, but the coming of the Messiah means that all justice will be served and every suffering, oppressed person will be rescued. As a Jewish woman under Roman occupation, she has felt this a number of ways.
Rome took as much as 70%-90% of a person’s income in taxes. As much as we complain about our government, I don’t think any of us could comprehend a 90% income tax. Taxation like that would leave any family poor and struggling.
As a woman, Mary had no voice in the public square. If I stole Matt Breivogel’s Legos and 30 women in Jerusalem saw me do it, none of them could testify against me in court. They had no legal standing at all. That means that anybody that wanted to could abuse or defraud any woman that didn’t have some man looking out for her.
That is a pretty humble estate if you consider all of that. Though she was descended from King David, she was far from considered royalty. There was no throne held by anyone in Israel at that time, and Herod was faking it very poorly.
Mary recognizes “God has looked on the humble estate of His servant.” She brings glory to God not because He picked the powerful, but because His compassion overflowed to the weakest and the meekest. Mary isn’t even married at this point to have a husband to speak for her. A betrothal to Joseph has happened, but that doesn’t necessarily mean she’s even seen him before. She just knows that when marrying time comes, she’ll be married to Joseph.
In the only place that she even has a right to speak for herself, she says to God, “Let it be as you have said.” The only moment she had an actual choice to guide her own life, and she submitted it to God.
God’s mightiest strength is shown in His compassion. His mercy and grace show more than His judgment when you consider the power of giving people what they don’t deserve. That is how He showed Himself. In mercy and weakness, He picked Mary to birth the coming King.
Whoever or whatever was once known as mighty will forever be known as a tyrant or temporary compared to Jesus the King. Whatever high birth or lofty estate was once regarded will be forgotten within a generation, but God’s Messiah-Son in the flesh will live on forever.