The Magnificat, Mary and Elisabeth In Film

courtesy Free Domain

A new series of Bible videos created by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are being produced and offered free of charge to the public. The video series debuted this month with a stunningly beautiful depiction of The Christmas Story, told in six parts. The filming of these videos began last year in a remote area near Goshen Utah, where a square mile of property has been transformed into a massive Jerusalem Motion Picture set. Painstaking attention to every detail has been observed in order to create the most realistic and accurate portrayal of beloved bible stories.

“The goal of the church is to help people have a better understanding of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ,” said Scott Smiley, producer of the project. “To do that, the most realistic appearance helps someone be able to transport [him/herself] to that time period, and understand what his life was like, what the lives of those around him were like and have a better understanding of his mission.”

Mary and Elisabeth - Free Domain

The first video in the series depicts the Annunciation. The second video is entitled “Mary and Elisabeth Rejoice Together“, which depicts Mary traveling from Nazareth to Jerusalem to see her cousin Elisabeth, and their subsequent reunion. Elizabeth is in the final trimester of her pregnancy with John the Baptist. When Mary arrives and calls out a greeting, the child leaps within Elizabeth’s womb, and Elizabeth becomes the first earthly witness that Mary is the chosen mother of the Son of God, and that the Christ would soon be born. It has always been sweet to me that our Heavenly Father consistently chose women to be the first witnesses of Jesus’ most important earthly events from advent, to death, and resurrection. Mary’s powerful response to Elisabeth is commonly called the Magnificat, Latin for “[My soul] magnifies“,  also known as the Song of Mary or the Canticle of Mary. (I have always loved the concept that our testimony is a sacred song to God!)

I imagine that several of the other episodes such as the journey to Bethlehem, the visit of the shepherds, the Presentation at the Temple, or the Wise Men seeking Jesus might receive more views in this video series. But, as beautiful as all of the segments are, my heart is deeply attached to this particular segment which allows us an intimate moment with Mary and Elisabeth. I feel an overwhelming respect for these soul sisters. Both women would bear unexpected children announced by heavenly beings. Both would endure difficult pregnancies and face social stigma. Both carried the great blessing and heavy burden of knowing that their child was being sent with a divine mission to fulfill. Both would raise their sons tirelessly teaching truth and righteousness by word and example, and prepare their boy to fulfill his divine mission. Ultimately, both of these sweet souls would have to suffer the greatest mother’s agony; the senseless suffering and death of their beloved, perfect child at the hands of murderers. And yet, both of these women would remain steadfast and faithful, ever willing to be the Handmaid of the Lord. For all of that, and so much more, I love these two women. I hope I can follow their example of faith and courage. This new video is not only a visual feast ,but also a  spiritual feast, offering an honest portrayal of two of the most elect women of God.


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