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A Spurgeon Christmas Sermon: Mary’s Song

December 23, 2014

It’s that time of year again, to highlight one of Charles Spurgeon’s Christmas sermons. Click here to see all of the previous Spurgeon Christmas sermon specials.  For this year, one delivered 150 years ago this Christmas day: December 25, 1864 – Mary’s Song.

Mary had much to give thanks for and to praise God for, and Spurgeon notes several aspects of Mary’s faith, for us to follow as an example. In Mary’s Magnificat we find true joy, a personal Savior, great faith, humility, confidence and familiarity – as well as the great Covenant of Grace.

True Joy

Mary’s heart was merry within her; but here was the mark of her joy—it was all holy merriment, it was every drop of it sacred mirth. It was not such merriment as worldlings will revel in today and tomorrow, but such merriment as the angels have around the Throne of God, where they sing, “Glory to God in the highest,” while we sing, “On earth peace, goodwill towards men.” Such merry hearts have a continual feast.

A Personal Savior

Her peculiar delight was not that there was a Savior to be born, but that He was to be born of her! Blessed among women was she, and highly favored of the Lord; but we can enjoy the same favor; no, we must enjoy it, or the coming of a Savior will be of no benefit to us. … The Savior was peculiarly, and in a special sense, hers. She sung no “Christ for all,” but “Christ for me,” as her glad subject!

Great Faith

As yet there was no Savior born, nor, as far as we can judge had the Virgin any evidence such as carnal sense required to make her believe that a Savior would be born of her. How can this thing be, was a question which might very naturally have suspended her song until it received an answer convincing to flesh and blood; but no such answer had been given. She knew that with God all things are possible, she had His promise delivered by an angel, and this was enough for her; on the strength of the Word which came forth from God, her heart leaped with pleasure and her tongue glorified His name.

When I consider what it is which she believed, and how unhesitatingly she received the Word, I am ready to give her, as a woman, a place almost as high as that which Abraham occupied as a man! And if I dare not call her the mother of the faithful, at least let her have due honor as one of the most excellent of the mothers in Israel. The benediction of Elizabeth, Mary right well deserved, “Blessed is she who believes.”


Her lowliness does not make her stay her song. No, it imports a sweeter note into it—“For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden.” Beloved Friend, you are feeling more intensely than ever the depth of your natural depravity; you are humbled under a sense of your many failings; you are so dead and earth-bound even in this House of Prayer, that you cannot rise to God. You are heavy and sad, even while our Christmas carols have been ringing in your ears; you feel yourself to be today so useless to the Church of God, so insignificant, so utterly unworthy, that your unbelief whispers, “Surely, surely, you have nothing for which to sing.” Come, my Brother, come my Sister, imitate this blessed Virgin of Nazareth, and turn that very lowliness and meanness which you so painfully feel, into another reason for unceasing praise!


She sings confidently . She does not pause while she questions herself, “Have I any right to sing?” but no, “My soul does magnify the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the low estate of His handmaiden.” “IF” is a sad enemy to all Christian happiness; “but,” “perhaps,” “doubt,” “surmise,” “suspicion,” these are a race of highwaymen who waylay poor timid pilgrims, and steal their spending money. Harps soon get out of tune, and when the wind blows from the doubting quarter, the strings snap by the wholesale. If the angels of Heaven could have a doubt, it would turn Heaven into Hell. “If you are the Son of God,” was the dastardly weapon wielded by the old enemy against our Lord in the wilderness. Our great foe knows well what weapon is the most dangerous. . . . You think that it is a sign of Divine Grace to have doubts, whereas it is a sign of infirmity. It does not prove that you have no Grace when you doubt God’s promise, but it does prove that you need more—for if you had more Grace, you would take God’s Word as He gives it, and it would be said of you as of Abraham, that, “he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, being fully persuaded that what He had promised He was able also to perform.” God help you to shake off your doubts.


She sings with great familiarity, “My soul does magnify the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He who is mighty has done to me great things; and holy is His name.” It is the song of one who draws very near to her God in loving intimacy. . . . For my own part I want a form of worship in which I may draw near to my God, and come even to His feet, spreading my case before Him, and ordering my cause with arguments—talking with Him as a friend talks with his friend, or a child with its father—otherwise the worship is of little worth to me. Our Episcopalian friends, when they come here, are naturally struck with our service as being irreverent because it is so much more familiar and bold than theirs. Let us carefully guard against really deserving such a criticism, and then we need not fear it; for a renewed soul yearns after that very communion which the formalist calls irreverent. To talk with God as my Father—to deal with Him as with one whose promises are true to me, and to whom I, a sinner washed in blood, and clothed in the perfect Righteousness of Christ, may come with boldness, not standing afar off—I say this is a thing which the outer-court worshipper cannot understand.

And finally, a wonderful theological reference point, The Covenant:

She does not finish her song till she has reached the Covenant. When you mount as high as Election, tarry on its sister mount, the Covenant of Grace. In the last verse of her song, she sings, “As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed forever.” To her, that was the Covenant; to us who have clearer light, the ancient Covenant made in the council chamber of Eternity is the subject of the greatest delight. The Covenant with Abraham was in its best sense only a minor copy of that gracious Covenant made with Jesus, the Everlasting Father of the Faithful, before the blue heavens were stretched abroad. Covenant engagements are the softest pillows for an aching head; Covenant engagements with the Surety, Christ Jesus, are the best props for a trembling spirit!—

“His oath, His Covenant, His blood, Support me in the raging flood.

When every earthly prop gives way, This still is all my strength and stay.”

If Christ did swear to bring me to Glory, and if the Father swore that He would give me to the Son to be a part of the infinite reward for the travail of His soul, then, my Soul, till God Himself shall be unfaithful, till Christ shall cease to be the Truth, till God’s Eternal Council shall become a lie, and the red roll of His Election shall be consumed with fire, you are safe!

A very Merry Christmas to all of this blog’s readers!

  1. December 23, 2014 at 7:15 am

    Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.

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