Luke 1:39–45, (46–55) (NRSV)
Verse 39In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, Verse 40where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. Verse 41When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit Verse 42and exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. Verse 43And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? Verse 44For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. Verse 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord." Verse 46And Mary said, "My soul magnifies the Lord, Verse 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, Verse 48for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; Verse 49for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. Verse 50His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. Verse 51He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. Verse 52He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; Verse 53he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. Verse 54He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, Verse 55according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever."
“And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior”” (Luke 1:46-47)
These are very familiar words—we hear them every Advent. They are filled with rich imagery that draws on the story of the ways that God had blessed the people through the ages. And yet in this reading one word has stood out for readers through the centuries—what does Mary mean when she says that her soul “magnifies” the Lord? The word itself means that something is enlarged or amplified. Perhaps it is something like when we say that our heart “swells” with pride? Mary’s joy in God’s promises makes her joy grow and swell within her, as she thinks about the coming Savior and her role in all this.
Heavenly Father, swell our hearts so that we may rejoice, like Mary, in the coming of your Son. Amen.