Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mary - The Next Cast Member of Glee

As mean as it probably sounds, one of the best parts of my job is embarrassing teenagers. Seriously. I get plenty of opportunities to do so, especially with our picture of the week . . . good times and AWESOME blackmail material. A week or so ago I was able to turn one of my girls so red... it was quite amusing. We've been watching The Nativity Story in Sunday School the last few weeks and we had gotten to the part where Gabriel tells Mary about the baby and Mary's family finding out. We had one girl in the room who was around the age Mary would have been. I asked her, "So what would you do if an angel came to you and told you that you were going to give birth to the Son of God?" Her eyes got SO WIDE and she said that she would freak out. Then I asked her "How would your parents react?" Her eyes got EVEN WIDER and said:

I then responded with:

"He would probably want to kill M too."

(M is the guy she is currently/has been involved with this school year.)

It was hilarious.

Mary is probably the one character in the Christmas story that we talk about the most. (Other than Jesus of course.) We love to sit and wonder what was going through Mary's head when she found out the news that she was going to give birth to Jesus, the Son of God. How did she feel when she had to tell her mother and father about the news and explain to them that she had done nothing wrong? What were her feelings about Joseph? Was she afraid? 

I counted about 5-7 songs off the top of my head about Mary. These include: Mary Did You Know, Breath of Heaven, Ave Maria, Mary's Boy Child, and Gabriel's Message. The one that we do not hear very often though, (at least not on popular radio) is the one that in a way should be the most obvious . . . The Magnificat. In traditional churches there are actually several versions of this song, and I have no idea how many. But if you were to ask a random person on the street to name a song about the Virgin Mary... they probably would not think of The Magnificat, even though it is straight from the Bible!

Even Todd Agnew while preparing this album did not think of it right away. I heard in an interview that he had gotten stuck when it came to writing from Mary's point of view, until he went back to when Mary was first told about the baby she was about to give birth to. That was when he decided to write his own version of the Magnificat. 

Isn't it strange how sometimes the most obvious answer is right in front of us?

My soul magnifies the Lord,

My spirit rejoices in my savior,

He has seen the humble state of my heart, and now all will call me blessed.

Mary is a young woman of about fifteen, and engaged to a great guy named Joseph. She grew up in a small poor town with her faithful mother and father. She's been a faithful follower of God her entire life. Then one day an angel comes to her:

Greetings! You are favored, and the Lord is with you! Among all women on the earth, you have been blessed.

She's stunned and doesn't know what to do with this message. In all honesty, she's probably kinda freaked out.

Mary, don't be afraid. You have found favor with God. Listen, you are going to become pregnant. You will have a son, and you must name Him "Liberation" or Jesus. Jesus will become the greatest among men. He will be known as the Son of the Highest God. God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David, and He will reign over the covenant family of Jacob forever.

Mary can't help but wonder out loud... But I have never been with a man. How can this be possible?

The Holy Spirit will come upon you. That's why this holy child will be known, as not just your son, but also as the Son of God. It sounds impossible, but listen- you know your relative Elizabeth has been unable to bear children and is now far too old to be a mother. Yet, she has become pregnant as God willed it. Yes, in three months, she will have a son. So the impossible is possible with God.

So Mary tells  the angel . . . Here I am, the Lord's humble servant. As you have said, let it be done to me.  (Taken from Luke 1:28-38 The Voice.)

The next thing Mary does is go to visit her cousin Elizabeth, and finds out that she too is having a baby. Elizabeth's child leaps inside of the womb out of joy. AMAZING! A baby that isn't even completely formed yet, knows what is about to happen and jumps for joy! It's mind boggling. So what does Mary do?

She bursts into song. 

Now, I know I randomly burst into song too. In my mind the world is like an episode of Glee where everyone sings and dances perfectly. HOWEVER, I don't make up my own tune and lyrics.

Praise the almighty God; he's done great things for us,

Holy is his name,

His mercy is free for those who fear his justice,

May generation to generation loudly proclaim his fame

Mary's joy is so overwhelming and passionate that it can't be contained with simply words. She has to sing about it. It is a song of joy and praise and adoration. When I hear Todd Agnew's version of the song, I feel like it is a song that you can't even sing standing up. I'm not one to raise my arms up during worship or anything like that very often. But when I sing along I feel like I  need to be on my knees in awe of everything God has done.

Her initial reaction isn't fear and full or worries. It's full of praise! No wonder God chose her to be the one to carry his son. Not to say that she didn't have worries and fears, I am sure she did. But her gut reaction is to praise God and thank him for such a wonderful gift. She wants the entire world to know of the Almighty God who has done great things for us, and to proclaim his name forever.

She lists all of the things God has done:

Blessed Mary
Shown his strength
Brought down the mighty
Shows mercy
Scattered the proud
Lifted the lowly to himself
Fed the hungry
Sent the rich away
Remembered his people

When was the last time you simply praised God just for being himself? It's something I've been thinking a lot about lately. I can't remember the last time I simply praised God for who he is and everything he has done. I've sung in church and along with the Christmas songs on the radio and my ipod. But TRULY PRAISED GOD in awe and wonder of who he is and what he does?

I can't remember.

I hope we can all strive to be more like Mary. In spite of our fears, doubts, worries, and the stresses of the season, I hope we can just remember who God is and praise him.

May generation to generation loudly proclaim his name

If you want to read my previous posts on Todd Agnew's Christmas Album click these links:

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I really love this. That video almost moved me to tears. I don't think I've ever really thought about how hard this would have all been for Mary. I mean, wonderful, sure, but like you said - having to tell her parents, and what about Joseph?! Not to mention the whole rest of the world, and physically being pregnant too. I think I'd probably always assumed she'd just be really happy and privileged. But that video shows a little of how emotional and how much of a struggle it must have been too.

    Thanks for sharing :)


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