Not long to go now, and we get a real sense of excitement as we approach Christmas:
Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” Luke 1:39-45.
The strange events we thought about last week are coming to fruition. Leaping for joy – a strong reaction at any time, but while still in the womb…? What’s going on? Prophecies are being fulfilled and the Holy Spirit is in action. Wow! Where will this all end? Elizabeth and Mary must have been overwhelmed by the enormity of the prophecies, daunted by the responsibility imposed on them, even terrified of what is to come. Why can’t they be allowed to be normal mothers?
Ringing in the ears of Elizabeth and her husband Zechariah will be the prediction: ‘He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’’ (Luke 1:16-17). Quite some task!
And Mary will remember being told: ‘You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his kingdom there will be no end’ (Luke 1:31-33). What?
And yet Elizabeth and Mary were not ordinary! They accepted God’s will for them whatever the cost. They may have been counted amongst the meek, but they became examples to us all as the act in faithful obedience to God’s call. We remember Jesus’ words:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Matthew 5:3 & 5.
Let us thank God that he did not choose someone of power and of influence to bear his Son! God can work through anyone who is willing to hear his call. Here is a short prayer of thanks:
We thank you, Lord, that you love us all and that no-one is beyond the reach of your mercy.
May we hear your call and, like Elizabeth and Mary, follow it in faithful obedience. Amen.