Holy Is His Name

Musician Alanna Glover reflects on Mary’s song and the hope we share in Jesus' birth.


For our sixteenth Advent 2023 devotional, Alanna Glover reflects on Mary’s song and the hope we share in Jesus' birth.

Holy Is His Name


And Mary said,

‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
   and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
   Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
   and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
   from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
   he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
   and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
   and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
   in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
   to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’

And Mary remained with her for about three months and then returned to her home.

Luke 1:46-56



I have given birth three times now—most recently just a few months ago—so I write this from the foggy land of motherhood where I exist on broken sleep, lukewarm coffee, and the rejected crusts of peanut butter sandwiches. While being a mother is an absolute joy and privilege, I have never felt so humbled as through the experience of carrying and birthing a child. At times, it truly felt like I had little dignity left to protect, as childbirth brought with it new depths of pain, fear, and brokenness. 

Here in Luke 1, Mary sings of her own experience of being made lowly. Now, I don't want to project too much of my own experience onto Mary, but I can only imagine how her circumstances brought with it new depths of humility. However, wonderfully she has not been abandoned! The Mighty One is with her, he lifts her up and blesses her. 

Mary’s praise paints a picture of a world that is turned upside down: a vision of God's kingdom where authority is subverted, where justice reigns and light shines in the darkness. In this world we see that God is good and faithful. He is a God who remembers his people and bends low to help them. It also gives a glimmer of a great hope to come. 

The baby in Mary's womb is the word of God taking on human flesh, who will grow up to experience the ultimate lowliness: to be abandoned by God his father to face death on a cross. But again, Jesus is not forsaken! In the resurrection, God exalts Jesus, lifting him up to glory. And this is a victory we share in; as through faith we too are lifted up. So this Christmas, let's appreciate afresh and celebrate the truths of the Magnificat: the incredible reversal of humility to exaltation. The coming of Jesus into our common home. And let's sing with Mary, without abandon, "Holy is his name!".




Alanna Glover is a singer, songwriter with Emu Music and developer of Emu Music’s Word In Song online course. She has also served as a church music director in Sydney and member of the band Garage Hymnal before moving to Oxford, where she worked as part of Emu's UK team. Alanna now lives in Sydney where she splits her time between working for Emu, being a mum, and completing her Masters of Theology through Birmingham University. She has a Bachelor of Theology from Sydney Missionary Bible College and a BA Music Degree from Sydney University. 



This devotional is the sixteenth in a series of daily email devotionals for Advent 2023. This year's series reflects on the longing, hope, and beauty of God’s ‘Common Home’ being realised, revealed, and renewed through the birth of Jesus.

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Advent: Common Home