Mary sang the very first Christmas carol in Luke 1:46-55. She was now miraculously carrying the Christ-child and upon receiving confirmation from her godly cousin, Mary sings out to God a song of praise. We call it the Magnifcat, from the first word of the song in Latin, close to our English “magnify.”
Mary feels so blessed, her heart cannot contain the praise, so she sings out, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” She does not exalt herself; she exalts her God. The worship comes from her very soul, and she wants everyone to know how great God is.
That’s what it means to magnify the Lord. We don’t make Him look bigger than He is; we make it known to others just how great we have found Him to be. John Piper says we are not like a magnifying glass but more like a telescope—helping others see God is much greater than they thought.
This does not happen through mere words or a dry lecture. Mary says, “my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” It’s so personal—the praise is coming from her spirit within her. God fills Mary’s heart with joy, and she rejoices from the inside out. We magnify God as we reveal Him and His goodness to others through our own words of praise.
Mary sets the example of worship and witness for us. Worship happens as we reflect back to God the joy He has given us in our hearts. Our witness or testimony for God to others should flow out of this same joyful heart. When we consider how God has saved sinners like us, we can echo with Mary, “He who is mighty has done great things for me.” Cleansing us. Forgiving us. Adopting us forever. “Great things” indeed!
Our worship and witness for God can be enhanced as we meditate on the true meaning of Christmas. Like Mary, we can sing tidings of comfort and joy.