Welcome to week two of this advent journey with Mary. This week we look at how Mary followed directions, and cope when she had to follow directions given to others.
Mary visits Elizabeth
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”
This image shares with me the great joy and shared blessings; sisterhood and journeying together. Mary and Elizabeth as cousins would have been close, even when separated by distance. Mary would have been thrilled with the prospect of seeing Elizabeth and sharing her great news, and allowing Elizabeth to share with her. No doubt Mary also realised she could be of use to Elizabeth who would likely find pregnancy hard in her advanced years. (I dread to think what advanced years meant, perhaps only in her thirties?)
The gospel of Luke tells us that Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit upon seeing Mary; Jesus' presence made her baby leap for joy. There was always a connection between Jesus and John the Baptist, a connection of love and ministry in the coming about of God's action in the world.
Now let's think about what else might have been going on at this time.
Mary would no doubt have been relieved to have been able to journey to see Elizabeth and away from the prying and judging eyes of her community. Perhaps she had told her parents and Joseph of her pregnancy and it was not received with joy or understanding. We do not know; but the affirmation of Elizabeth would have been a comfort beyond all at this time. Mary stayed with Elizabeth for some considerable time, time during which Mary helped Elizabeth and time when her family and Joseph could come to terms with the miraculous events.
Prayer of the day
Dear Lord, we are thankful that Mary had Elizabeth with whom to share her joy and concerns about her pregnancy; and we celebrate the connection between Jesus and John the Baptist from before their births. We remember today those friends who are always there for us, and the fact that you remain available to us and fully present whenever we need. Amen