National Gallery of Art. Leaf from a Choir Book (Antiphonary) 1450
1 Samuel 1: 19-28
1 Samuel 1 and Luke 1 both speak about the praise given and the faith kept by two humble, but vitally important women who were gifted with sons.
Hannah demonstrates what it is to honor God for the gift of a longed-for son, a gift promised to be given back, despite the personal cost. As the gift returned, Samuel will become the great leader of the Israelites, and the medium by which Israel transforms from an era of Judges to that of Kingships as he anoints David as King.
Mary in Luke offers the Magnificat, a prayer of hope and gratitude after placing her trust in God and in God’s future plan for the son she will bear – the result of simple faith and obedience. And the gift, Jesus, brings by his presence, a gift to the world – a gift of unconditional love for all.
The words of the Magnificat mirror those of Hannah in her song which appears in chapter 2 of 1 Samuel. Both songs speak of absolute joy and thanksgiving. Hannah praises God for a gift already received. Mary praises God as she ‘waits in hope’ as God’s plan for her son is revealed. Both women will suffer for their obedience, trust and faithfulness, but both welcomed the incredible opportunity regardless of the consequences.
What if you were Hannah or Mary? Could you accept their journey of obedience and faith? Could I?