I’m always surprised at how early the Christmas shopping season starts each year. Fortunately the ritual of amassing gifts for supposed religious reasons is on hiatus right now. The flood of consumerism makes it impossible for us to forget when it’s almost time for Christmas. That’s why it’s ironic that the secular world would push Christmas so much, but when I read Luke 1:46-55, I had to remind myself that it was about Christmas.
At first glance, Mary’s prayer song in Luke 1:46-55 doesn’t seem very Christmasy. It just seems like a generic prayer you might read in the Psalms that proclaims how great God is because of all the great stuff he’s done. Simple enough. But shouldn’t this passage feel more Christmasy?
I don’t think it’s Mary’s fault that this passage didn’t initially make me think of Christmas; I think it’s mine. Mary probably knows a good bit more about the true meaning of Christmas than I do, no matter how many times I’ve seen A Christmas Story on TV. Mary shows us that the simple, core meaning of Christmas is that God is good–really good. God has “done great things” in the past and will extend mercy “from generation to generation” (vv. 49-50). God’s “mighty deeds,” both past and future, are monumental in scope–toppling governments–yet personal in effect–feeding the hungry (vv. 51-53). The Christmas event is an extension of those mighty deeds. The birth of the Savior is yet another way that God shows love to us. And that’s what Christmas is all about. Take it from Mary. She would know.