A Family Advent Activity with Mary’s Magnificat

Sarah Bowler's picture

Many of us spend part of the Advent season reflecting on Christ’s birth together as a family. But do you ever get to the point where you feel like you’re just saying the same things over and over?

This year I sat down and compared Hannah and Mary’s songs of praise to God and found quite  a few similarities.

Mary’s song reflects her deep knowledge of the lives and words of the Old Testament saints, and in particular, Hannah’s story seemed to resonate with Mary.

Over a thousand years earlier, Hannah sang a song of praise to God for blessing her barren womb, and Mary praised God for making fertile the womb of a virgin.


  • Sit down with your family and talk about the faith legacy of those who’ve gone on ahead.
  • Then take a look at Hannah’s prayer of praise in 1 Samuel 2:1–10 and Mary’s in Luke 1:46–56.
  • As you read, talk about the similarities between the prayers, particularly their descriptions of God.

Here are a few of the similarities that I charted on my personal blog earlier this month:

Hannah’s Song

Mary’s Song

“My heart exults in the Lord” (1 Sam. 2:1).

“My soul magnifies the Lord” (Luke 1:46).

“I rejoice in your salvation” (1 Sam. 2:1).

“My spirit rejoices in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46).

“There is none holy like the Lord” (1 Sam. 2:2).

“Holy is his name” (Luke 1:49).

“Talk no more so very proudly” (1 Sam. 2:3).

“He has scattered the proud” (Luke 1:51).

“The bows of the mighty are broken” (1 Sam. 2:4).

“He has brought down the mighty from their thrones” (Luke 1:52).

“But the feeble bind on strength” (1 Sam. 2:4).

“Exalted those of humble estate” (Luke 1:52).

“Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread” (1 Sam. 2:5).

“The rich he has sent away empty” (Luke 2:53).

“Those who were hungry have ceased to hunger” (1 Sam. 2:5).

“He has filled the hungry with good things” (Luke 2:53).

“He raises up the poor from the dust; he lifts the needy from the ash heap” (1 Sam. 2:8).

“He has looked on the humble estate of his servant” (Luke 2:48).

"Inherit a seat of honor” (1 Sam. 2:8).

“From now on all generations will call me blessed” (Luke 2:48).

“He will guard the feet of his faithful ones” (1 Sam. 2:9).

“His mercy is for those who fear him” (Luke 2:50).


Lisa Goodyear's picture

Thanks for sharing these great observations!   May familes use this activity to teach their children about our awesome God, His love, and His faithfulness.

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