Last Friday morning I was sitting in my favorite Whataburger booth when I read from my Daily Chronological Bible. I already knew what it would say. I’d been looking forward to that day’s reading for a month. In my Bible, October 20th is the day we get to read about the birth of Jesus. All month long I found myself flipping through the pages to see how much longer I had to wait.
Why was I so anxious? Partly because the language and stories from the Gospels breathe fresh after the hard prophecies from the end of the Old Testament era; partly because I love the Christmas season, love the music, love the movies, love the friendliness and grace that mysteriously overtakes us all, and love the fact that we’re concerned more about what we should give rather what we hope to get; and partly because the cooler air and shorter days bring fresh energy to my daily reading. By October 20th I’m more than ready.
So sitting in the booth, sipping a Diet Coke, reading, I stopped on Luke 1:46, what we call The Song of Mary, or The Magnificat:
My soul glorifies the Lord,
And my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.
For He has been mindful of the humble
State of His servant.
To be honest, I started to tear up as I read those words. I didn’t really want to cry in the restaurant and shake up the serving staff or the family sitting in the booth next to mine, but there it was. As I read the words, what I heard in my heart was the phrase I heard long ago, sung by 14-year-old Adriana in about 1992, when she was playing the role of Mary in a church choir presentation. She sang:
My soul magnifies the Lord.
I’ll be honest; this song always breaks me down, no matter who sings it. But last Friday, while sitting in the booth, the reason I stumbled over those lines was I realized they describe who I want to be.
For all my writing, teaching, talking about journey and calling and purpose and meaning (if you’re around me much you know I talk about those all the time), the person I want to be, who I want my life and legacy to be, is a man who magnifies the Lord.
Not magnify, as in making the Lord bigger. That’s impossible.
But magnify the Lord, as in making Him easier to see, making His grace more comfortable to accept, opening His comfort for healing, illustrating His huge strong hands that have a firm grip on me. I want my life and my writing and my teaching to be a continuous stream of, “Hey, take a look at this,” and point directly toward Jesus. I want to describe and reframe and illustrate and illuminate the grace of God through my own experience and my stories.
I will be singing the song in my head for the next week or so, so don’t be surprised if I look a little distant yet surprisingly happy.
It is almost Christmas. Let us all magnify the Lord as we give ourselves away to each other. I’m more than ready.
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32