Tuesday, December 20, 2022
Reader: “You are blessed”
Response: “because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
Scripture: Luke 1:39-45
A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
Put yourself in Mary’s place for a moment. What would you do had you received the news of Gabriel? Who would you tell? Joseph? Would he believe you? It’s safe to say he would not! Did you notice how Mary learned of Elizabeth’s situation? I believe the angel gave Mary a hint that maybe she should visit her relative, Elizabeth, knowing that Elizabth had likewise received miraculous news and was already six months pregnant. This news undoubtedly bolstered Mary’s confidence that something very miraculous was happening on a larger scale. Did Mary tell Joseph? Scholars have speculated both ways. But with something this miraculous, it only makes sense that an angel (perhaps Gabriel? We are not told the angel’s name.) would also visit Joseph with news this unusual. Like Mary, Joseph believed the angel’s words. Mary’s story would be virtually impossible to believe unless confirmed by an angel!
When we have good news, we just have to tell somebody. Mary had to share the news with Elizabeth and who would better understand, perhaps the only person who would believe her. They were connected not only as relatives, but as the two key people in God’s unfolding plan.
Elizabeth is an older woman who had been praying for years with her husband for children to no avail. There is no greater happiness than to want children, pray for children, experience infertility, and then become pregnant. Having children is one of the greatest joys in all of life. Nancy and I were married for eleven years before our first child was born. We experienced five years of praying and waiting and wanting until our prayers were answered. It was another four years of praying and waiting for our second son. The joy of finding out that we were finally pregnant was one of the greatest days of joy in our lives! Feeling the baby kick was so delightful (more for me than Nancy!)
For Elizabeth to realize that the long awaited “Voice in the Wilderness” was in her womb and then to greet Mary who was bearing the Savior of the world . . . Can you hear Elizabeth bubbling over and imagine baby John dancing for joy in her womb? Did you notice these women’s joy focuses on God’s blessing as a result of their trust in him? (Notice physician Luke calls John a baby, not a fetus!) May the Holy Spirit who filled the baby in Elizabeth’s womb with joy, fill you with joy this Christmas season. Today, believe the word of the Lord in your own life and rejoice! Tell the miraculous good news! God has come in person!
Music: “The Hands that First Held Mary’s Child” Arman Ferrer with Kilyawan Consortium of Voices
This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Amen!