This afternoon I watched a movie that my wife gave me for my birthday. It’s called the Nativity Story and it was released last year. It’s a wonderful movie and the kind of movie I love to watch at this time of year. I’ve always loved movies like this because it captures the essence of the Christmas story. Mary and Joseph, two poor folks struggling to make a go of it and they turn out to be the parents of the Messiah. The Messiah didn’t get born at the White House or the Pentagon. Instead he’s born in a stable or a niche in the rock in Bethlehem. At one touching point in the movie as a shepherd reaches to touch the baby Christ, Mary invites him, saying, “He is for all mankind.” As the movie ends Joseph and Mary are trudging the sands toward Egypt and Mary is reciting what has become known as the Magnificat. The Magnificat is recited each evening at Evening prayers by monks, friars, nuns and all who pray the Office.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God, my salvation.
For he has shown me such favour –
me, his lowly handmaiden.
Now all generations will call me blessed,
because the mighty one has done great things for me.
His name is holy,
his mercy lasts for generation after generation
for those who revere him.

He has put forth his strength:
he has scattered the proud and conceited,
torn princes from their thrones;
but lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things;
the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel,
he has remembered his mercy as he promised to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.