One of the great “hymns” of the Bible is found in Luke 1:46ff. It is the song of praise Mary, the mother of Jesus, sings when visiting her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. It is commonly known as “The Magnificat.”
“And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
I believe God “looks with favor” upon all of us.
What may separate Mary from the rest of us is not her role in the story but her willingness to accept her role in becoming part of the story. Mary honored the favor of God, her calling, when, with joy in her heart, she allowed herself to become the mother of Jesus.
Such joy comes when we honor God’s “looking with favor” upon each of us and, like Mary, accept our role in the ongoing story of Jesus and his love. Joy is God’s affirmation to our saying “yes” to God’s favor.