Mother’s Day is a day of mixed emotions for many. For many it is a day of joy, the joy of being a mother, the joy of celebrating your mother, and the joy of celebrating the mother of your children. For many though it is a day of pain, pain in singleness, pain in infertility, pain in wayward children, pain in miscarriages, pain in loss of children, pain in abandonment by mothers, pain in abuse from mothers, pain in broken relationships, and pain in shattered dreams. On top of this there are the pressures of being a woman, body image issues, approval struggles, and identity issues. Instead of glossing over these things, we must face them all with the truths of the Gospel. Mary’s song of praise is a perfect place for us to allow God to speak into all these emotions.
Mary is without a doubt the most blessed woman who has ever lived; she is probably the most famous as well. However, we tend to only focus on her blessings not her pain, suffering, and loss. Remember that Mary is the most famous unwed mother of all time. Think of the stigma and shame that she would have had to endure. How many people would actually have believed her story? From there she has to deal with the pain of watching her firstborn son die in a horrific way while others mock His suffering. This is in part why her song of praise is so helpful for us today.
Rejoicing in her Savior
We can easily view Mary as blessed because of God’s revelation to her, her godly fiance, or the fact that she was expecting a baby. It is easy to view people who have what we want as happy because of the gifts God has bestowed. In reality though, Mary is blessed not because she is going to have a child but because of who the child is. Mary’s blessed state was because of Jesus, the gift Giver. Mary goes on to have at least five other children, but she is not remembered or blessed by us for this. Her blessed state was because of Who Jesus was, not what she was given.
God exalts the humble
Mary praises God because of what He has done for her, not because of who she is. She is powerless, hungry, and empty. God has exalted her by His grace. She does not take credit for anything that she has been given. Instead she gives all the credit to God. She sees herself as wholly unworthy, yet God as the One Whose name must be exalted and set apart.
God resists the proud
Mary also acknowledges that God has cast down the powerful, the proud, and the wealthy. God resists the proud. God refuses to share His glory with another. Many women dreamed of having what Mary was given, being the mother of the Messiah. However, God refused to give them this gift and this honor because they would not have given Him the glory.
God keeps His promises
Mary ends her song by praising God for remembering His people. She realizes that she has been blessed not for herself but for all the people of God. God has kept His covenant promise. His blessings will be seen upon subsequent generations.
All of this points to a matter of identity. We so quickly seek to be something other than in Christ. We seek all of God’s gifts and neglect God Himself. We want so desperately to have the “ideal” family, marriage, body, relationship, etc. that we quickly become cynical. You are not defined by your marital status. You are not defined by how many kids you have. You are not defined by what size clothes you wear. You are not defined by career success. You are not defined by the achievements of your children. You are not defined by the failures of your children. You are not defined by the criticisms of your mother. You are not defined by the criticisms of this world. You are defined by Jesus Christ.
When our identity is found in Christ, He can bless us without hurting us. So many of the things we desire can become idols. If God granted them we would boast in the gifts, not the giver. We would act as if we had achieved these things, not been granted them by God’s grace. We would seek joy in something other than God. We must fix our eyes on the blessings that are ours in Jesus Christ and hold all other things in an open hand; the Lord can give, the Lord can take away, but blessed be the name of the Lord!
Will you allow Jesus to define who you are?
Will you turn from the things you have idolized and trust in Jesus?