‘And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.’ Luke 1:46–47
Suggested Further Reading: Matthew 2:1–12
When we meet with our kinsfolk and acquaintances, let it be our prayer to God that our communion may be not only pleasant, but profitable; that we may not merely pass away time and spend a pleasant hour, but may advance a day’s march nearer heaven, and acquire greater fitness for our eternal rest. Observe the sacred joy of Mary that you may imitate it. This is a season when all men expect us to be joyous. We compliment each other with the desire that we may have a ‘Merry Christmas.’ Some Christians who are a little squeamish, do not like the word ‘merry.’ It is a right good old Saxon word, having the joy of childhood and the mirth of manhood in it; it brings before one’s mind the old song of the waits, and the midnight peal of bells, the holly and the blazing log. This is the season when we are expected to be happy; and my heart’s desire is, that in the highest and best sense, you who are believers may be ‘merry’. Mary’s heart was merry within her; but here was the mark of her joy, it was all holy merriment, it was every drop of it sacred mirth. It was not such merriment as worldlings will revel in today and tomorrow, but such merriment as the angels have around the throne, where they sing, ‘Glory to God in the highest,’ while we sing ‘On earth peace, good will toward men.’ Such merry hearts have a continual feast. I want you, children of the bride-chamber, to possess today and tomorrow, and all your days, the high and consecrated bliss of Mary, that you may not only read her words, but use them for yourselves, ever experiencing their meaning: ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.’
For meditation: The reasons why Mary’s soul magnified the Lord were—God’s might and majesty (Luke 1:49), God’s mercy (Luke 1:50) and God’s memory (Luke 1:54–55). Such holy mirth is good for the soul (2 Chronicles 7:10; Proverbs 15:13,15; 17:22; James 5:13) and makes for a truly ‘Merry Christmas’.
Sermon no. 606
25 December (1864)