And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, 48 for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50 His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51 He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 53 he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 54 He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.’” – Luke 1:46–55
We see in Scripture Mary’s gratitude for God and His awesome power and provision. Mary is so moved by this vision of God that she breaks out in song—a song that has come to be known as the “Magnificent.”
One of the blessings in my life is to teach kindergarten at an independent school. Soon after Thanksgiving, I read the Christmas story from the Bible and various picture books. I love sharing the true meaning of Christmas with my students because many are not familiar with it. After reading the stories, we act it out using simple costumes and props. My lessons are short and focused (remember, 5-6 years old have a short attention span.) I build on the story over three sessions so by the end, we have the complete Nativity story. This is an in-class unit with our Elementary Chaplain joining us for the finale.
Two years ago, the Chaplain asked my students to perform for the Junior High Christmas Chapel. I immediately panicked because it is one thing to do in the comfort of my classroom, but how would this unfold in front of hundreds of junior high students in a large gym, yikes! It is impossible to predict what kindergartners might say or do at any given minute. I prayed about it and felt God gently calling me to accept the invitation and lean on Him. The day arrives and I bring my students in costumes carrying simple props up to the gym.
The plan is to act out the story and then finish by singing “Away in the Manger.” My heart pounds and it is all I can do to appear calm and relaxed! We begin and go through the beautiful Christmas story and sing our song. I expected the middle school students to clap politely at the end, but something much more happened…the second that we finished, the entire junior high body gave a standing ovation, clapping and cheering wildly. The joy and blessing of seeing sweet Kindergarten students share the Christmas story with others made my heart sing as well as so many others!
How is your heart singing during this Advent season?
What do you hope for, expect or anticipate?
How can you prepare your heart to experience the Christmas story in a fresh new way?
– Jenny Goodenough