Saturday, December 13, 2008


Gabriel visits Mary with the news that Jesus is on His way. Mary goes to see her cousin Elizabeth, who confirms Gabriel's message as she's experiencing a miraculous pregnancy of her own. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth blesses Mary, "And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord" (Luke 1:45).

Mary responds with the famous song of praise known as "The Magnificat." And in the first line of her song, Mary reveals the secret of celebrating Christmas. She says, "My soul magnifies the Lord..."(Luke 1:46). What a simple, amazing idea. Magnify the Lord.

Now, I am the teacher-type. I have to know what the words mean. So I looked up the word magnify and discovered that it means the same thing in this verse that it does when you're talking about a magnifying glass or telescope or microscope. To place in the center; to bring into focus; to see the subject as bigger that objects surrounding it.

We are halfway through Advent. Christmas events seem to be taking center stage -- parties and concerts and plays. Shopping and gift wrapping become the focus of our "spare" time. Cooking and cleaning consume our domestic moments. Just being where we think we need to be, doing what we think we need to do takes on a life of its own, growing bigger and bigger as we rush towards December 25th.

When we magnify the spectacle of the holiday, it becomes the center of our focus. It gets bigger and bigger and bigger. Ultimately, the events of Christmas grow larger in our lives than the Christ of Christmas. We are rushed and panicked and exhausted, when, as Jesus told another sweet-but-harried woman, only one thing is needed.

So let's take a break. Halftime. Let's make sure that Jesus is still in the center of our lives, in focus and bigger than all else. Let's choose to magnify the Lord this Christmas season.


One of the ways you can keep Jesus as the focus of the Christmas season is by placing reminders throughout your home that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our Savior. A Friend of Celebrating Christmas has a collection of nativity scenes, but instead of displaying them together, she places them throughout her home as reminders to magnify Jesus moment by moment, day by day. Here are a few pictures of some of the nativity decorations in her collection...

Nativity sets make excellent Christmas gifts. They are visual reminders to magnifyJesus during these holy days.

And after December 25th, there are some wonderful sales on these meaningful decorations, so if you have already finished shopping for this year, you can begin to plan for next year and exercise good stewardship of your resources by catching them on sale in the coming weeks.