Mary’s song of praise is part of the story of Christmas. It is found in Luke 1.
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.
This is quite a display of sophisticated theology for a simple peasant girl! Mary weaves her understanding of the Bible into her understanding of history, her circumstances, God’s promises and their fulfillment.
Lamin Sanneh, a professor at Yale, has written:
The Christian approach …. [contends] that the greatest and most profound religious truths are compatible with everyday language, and [targets] ordinary men and women as worthy bearers of the religious message.
Lamin Sanneh. Christian Missions and the Western Guilt Complex
We see this at work in Africa where large and successful churches were started and led by people with low or no education but who devoured the Bible in their own languages. In fact, that is still happening today. Let none of us think that we are too ordinary to grasp or announce great Bible truths, or that others are too ordinary. The first translations of the Bible into English sprang from that same democratic ideal – that ordinary people would understand. When we translate the Bible into the languages of ordinary people we show that we have the same confidence in them that God has in them and in us.
That’s actually a Christmas message because Christmas shows us that God has confidence that ordinary humans will understanding his ultimate message when it comes down.