As Orthodox Christians we honor Mary, the mother of God.
In Luke 1:39-56 we read:
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a city of Judah, and she entered the house of Zechari′ah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” And Mary said,
[Mary’s Song of Praise]
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden.
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is on those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm,
he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts,
he has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and exalted those of low degree;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent empty away.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his posterity for ever.”
And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her home.
Mary, we call her Theotokos, sang out in praise to God. She is the perfect example of serving God. She is the perfect example of giving her entire life to God. And tradition has handed down for centuries her story. One of beauty and joy and giving and love. Her whole life. Her whole being is given to God. We honor her because we are told to. We honor her because she herself magnifies the Lord to show us what needs to be done.
In every icon of her with Christ, and nearly every single icon of her she is with Christ, she is gesturing to Him. Her son, the creator of the world, the lover of mankind. In essence she is saying, “Do not look at me…Look, here is the King of all!”
Rich tradition passes down to us this beautiful hymn showing us the JOY brought to the world when she was brought forth, to become the birth-giver of God.
“She cries: ‘Rejoice with me, all ye chosen of Isreal, for behold, the Lord has given me the living palace of His divine glory for our common gladness and joy and for the salvation of our souls!'”
Let us sing with “gladness and joy and for the salvation of our souls!”
Glory to Jesus Christ!
Christ is Risen!