Our gospel reading this morning contains one of the most famous – I’d even say infamous – texts in all of scripture. In this passage from Luke, right off the bat, we get the sense that something unusual is coming. This is a story about two women – the whole passage, all seventeen verses, details their conversation – and when you consider the time that it was written, it’s amazing that it was written down at all! Luke tells us that Mary traveled to the “house of Zechariah,” but Zechariah doesn’t even show up in this story. If you were here a couple of weeks ago, you can probably guess why that is! (Exactly right! Zechariah was stricken mute when Elizabeth’s pregnancy was announced). This story is about Elizabeth and Mary – not about Zechariah and not even about Joseph.
In this passage from Luke, Mary sings a song we could arguably call the very first Christmas carol. You have probably heard these words before. If you’re familiar with Holden Evening Prayer, then you have definitely sung these words before! This is the song that we call the Magnificat. Magnificat means “magnify” in Latin – it’s the first word of Mary’s song in Latin.