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Most Wonderful Time of Year

By Gianluca Cueva

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”

These lyrics were penned over 50 years ago and continue to be popular in American culture today. Though I don’t personally know of many people who are “caroling out in the snow,” much of this song is spent describing what makes this time of the year so wonderful or wonder inspiring. But do these things, or better yet, should these things really inspire a sense of wonder in us? “Parties for hosting” and having “loved ones near” are certainly a precious gift, especially after a global pandemic. But wondrous?

And yet, these lyrics are not wrong. This is the most wonderful, or wondrous time of the year. But not because of “roasting marshmallows” or “those holiday greetings.” But because the Lord has done something truly wonderful and incredible. In the incarnation of Jesus Christ, awesome and wondrous love, light, and life has come. In a much older “Christmas song” we hear of this wondrous salvation. Listen to the beginning of the song the Spirit pens through Mary, the mother of Christ:

“My soul magnifies the Lord,
 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.”

Luke 1:46-48

This song, also commonly known as the Magnificat (which simply means “magnifies” in Latin), is Mary’s response to a wondrous God. This song is broken up into three parts. The first describes Mary’s experience personally (vv. 46-49), the second describes who God is before all more generally (vv. 50-53), while the third describes God's response to his people specifically (vv. 54-55).

As we celebrate this advent season, let us learn from Mary. She reminds us that our God is worthy of our wonder. Consider with Mary first all the things God has done in your life personally. We don’t have to compare ourselves with her, but we can all recall the “great things” God has done in each of our lives. Then move to consider God’s character before all people. He is merciful, ever humble, ever caring for the least of these and just in his judgments. Finally consider our church family. Our God is not only wonderful to all or to each of us individually, but also to us as a people. He is our helper, our merciful God and covenant keeper.

This Advent season, let the Christmas story once again renew you with wonder for our God. Who knows, perhaps you may feel the need to sing out in praise to God or maybe even write a prayer or song of your own. Afterall, it is the most wonderful time of the year.


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