Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Mary and Elizabeth - quiet rejoicing

Luke 1:24-25
24  After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion.
25  "The Lord has done this for me," she said. "In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people."

 Luke 1:36-38 
36  Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.
37  For nothing is impossible with God."
38  "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her.

Luke 1:39-45
39  At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,
40  where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth.
41  When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
42  In a loud voice she exclaimed: "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!
43  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44  As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
45  Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!"


For much of the first Advent the focus is on Zechariah first, then on Mary.  Elizabeth is somewhat quiet in the background; but in each part of the story it is Elizabeth that becomes noticeably a participant.
When Zechariah returns he is not communicating, but still, they make love and for the first time she becomes pregnant.
I've said this before...when I think of Elizabeth as she realizes she's pregnant, I cannot help but see her laugh.  Yes, Elizabeth laughed.
Something happened that just was so improbable.  
After so many years...so many times of trying...so many hopes dashed.
Elizabeth's older frame begins to get round and the baby is growing and her mid section sticks out...and she smiles a lot, she laughs, she pats her belly...now quietly walking in the place of blessing.

Then Mary comes to see her.  Elizabeth is still living in a quiet household...Zechariah is still quiet, and Elizabeth is too.  She has kept her condition private.  And, Mary has kept her condition quiet also.  By now Joseph knows and has probably had the visit of the Angel, but we don't know for certain.

Mary arrives, and both of them are immediately surprised...the baby in Elizabeth's womb - John - leaps in her womb.  I loved it when my wife carried our babies and I could put my hand on her womb and feel the babies move...it is too marvelous a thing to feel.  But, Elizabeth's baby didn't just move, he "leaped" in her womb.   The greek word is literally "to skip"...like a child at play, skipping.  
No words are spoken, but everyone quietly rejoices.

I love these two women for the way in which they yield themselves to serve God's purposes and will. Many a mother has done that too.  
Privately
Quietly
Perseveringly
A woman who bears a child, then stays with them as they grow, teaching, praying, laughing, enjoying...it's all the same, it's rejoicing.

This first Advent, only these two knew what was happening...and they celebrated in private, rejoicing in what God had done in both of them.

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