My children love to play with magnifying glasses, although apart from delight nothing practical has yet to come from their adventures. They have yet to solve a crime or make a contribution to the accumulated knowledge base of biology. But delight is itself a end in and of itself. A change in perspective, whether from small to large or large to small, allows us to find joy in some common object to which we have become so long accustomed that we have ceased to consider it. Child-likeness (as opposed to childishness) is the ability to find delight in that which others have ceased to even acknowledge, which is why having kids around for Christmas changes the whole experience.
Mary’s Magnifat – her song of praise to the Lord in Luke 1 – begins with the statement that “My soul doth magnify the Lord”, from which we get the term Magnificat. Her praise embodies the spirit of Sarah’s laughter and follows in the footsteps of Hanna’s praise. Later, when John is born, Zecharias’ tongue is unloosed and his first expression is a prophecy of hope and praise to the Lord. Christmas is a time of magnifying the Lord.
That God would first become small before we could see His greatness is one of those paradoxes that only Christianity has been able to fully capture. The more we contemplate the babe in the manger or the man hanging from the cursed tree, the more we realize that everything we thought about God was too ordinary, too pastel, too limited. It is not the spiritually mature that find old and familiar truths boring, but to the spiritually blind and proud of heart.
I am writing today on the Lord’s day, when most believers will gather together for worship. Let us make sure that delight is not missing from our praise. Let us strive to see God with the eyes of children in whom delight is never far. God came near so that we might behold His glory – full of grace and truth. May God be magnified in our midst today.