Christmas is often thought of as a time for singing Christmas songs. Did you know that one of the Bible versions of the Christmas story has a lot of songs in it?
One of the things you may have noticed looking at the passage from Luke was that actually, it was only part of the story. What happened before Jesus’ birth and after?
In Luke’s Gospel, he tells us about Jesus’ parents visiting the temple after His birth and the lead-up to Jesus’s birth.
Matthew’s story is told from the viewpoint of Joseph, with an angel speaking to him. While Luke’s tells Mary’s story, with the angel visiting her and speaking to her.
Several times in Luke’s version of the story people sing.
• Simeon sings a song of praise to God on seeing the newly-born Jesus in the temple. (Luke 2.25-35).
• When Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist is born, his father Zechariah sings out a song or prophecy. (Luke 1.67-80).
• Mary visits her relative Elizabeth, inspired by the Holy Spirit Elizabeth speaks and Mary sings the song below. (Ref)
Mary’s Song of Praise
46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 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 powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
Often known as the Magnificat, it comes from the Latin word for ‘magnifies’. This article from the Bible Society is a good starting point if you want to think about this song in more depth.