In the Christmas story in Luke, Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth, who is pregnant with John the Baptist. It is a joyous scene. Mary breaks out in a prayer of praise. Her prayer begins, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” What a strange verb to use! We expect praise, thanks, or even what appears in the next verse, “rejoices.” But she uses “magnify.” Her soul is making God appear bigger!
In photography, when we use a telephoto lens, we don’t change the size of what we photograph; we just see our subject as if we are closer. We zoom in. What we zoom in on occupies more of our vision. At the same time, other lesser things leave our field of vision. We focus on what is important. Our subject becomes bigger and clearer.
J.B. Phillips, a well-known Bible translator from the 20th century, wrote a book entitled Your God is Too Small. What he was really saying is that our perspective of God is too small. We need to magnify God. We could never make Him, “who holds the moon and stars in His hand,” large enough. We could magnify Him 1000 times and still only understand a tiny fraction of who He is!
This Christmas is a perfect time for us, like Mary, to magnify the Lord. We do that by giving Him our attention, praising Him, and worshipping Him. And we magnify Him when we tone down the other distractions which vie for our hearts. Those other things, the gifts, the parties, even family and friends, are not bad, only lesser things to the glory and magnitude of God. When we magnify God, we put other things in their proper place. We enjoy the gifts, parties, family, and friends, but we magnify God.
An old Christmas worship song says, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.”
May we all Magnify the Lord this Christmas.