Mary, carrying the Christ child, journeys to her cousin Elizabeth, also with child.
Elizabeth herself is recipient of a miracle, a pregnancy in her later years, and one that had been long given up on, as Elizabeth was thought barren.
So it is of little surprise to her when the miraculous events continue upon the arrival of Mary.
Elizabeth reports that upon the hearing of Mary’s voice calling out its greeting, a number of things happened simultaneously. She became aware Mary had been asked to be the mother of the Lord and that she had obviously accepted. She also was made aware that this was no ordinary child, but the Christ, the Messiah, so long awaited among her people. And while these revelations were washing over her, her own child also became aware that he was in the presence of the Holy One.
What an awful lot to take in at one moment in time!
It begs the question of how we respond to this momentous event.
If you are like me, you struggle to remember just how amazing it was. And that is because it is “old news” to us, especially those of us who are well into our adulthood. We’ve been through this so many times, the stories are so familiar, it’s hard to remember what there is to get so excited about.
Of course, intellectually we do understand. We know that the coming of Christ began our journey of salvation once and for all. Jesus came to teach us the way to relate to our God in a more intimate and more sharing way than ever before.
What I refer to is our emotional response to that knowledge.
And perhaps the best way we can rekindle that amazing event in our minds and see it for the enormity that it was and is, is to recall each of us, a moment in time that reminds us of that kind of joy.
Think to that moment in time when you realized the true magnificence of what and who Jesus was. Remember the joy and anticipation of your own baptism, how new and shiny bright you felt. How close you felt to Jesus.
Think of the moment when you heard these stories the first time. Think of the awe of the manger, the Magi, the lowing of the cattle. Think of the miracle of this tiny babe, and how God’s love o’er shadowed the event. The coldness of the evening, the darkness of the night, and the brightness of the star that seemed to herald and draw a weary world to gaze in adoration at the evidence of God’s faithful commitment to each of us, in the guise of child wrapped in poor cloth, in a bed of hay.
Think of the thrill you felt upon those first realizations and perhaps you will get a sense of what Elizabeth felt that day so long ago as her cousin walked up the dusty path to her house. The real and the surreal mix and combine in a blur of visions and there is no doubt that God is as close as one’s breath.
Rejoice, for the Lord is in our presence and has come to save the world from itself.
True joy indeed.
Merry Christmas to all of you and may God’s blessings uphold you.
- Sunday (December 23): “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled.” (shechina.wordpress.com)
- 4th Sunday of Advent – C (johnmsfs.wordpress.com)
- THE FINISHING TOUCHES: HOMILY FOR THE 4TH SUNDAY OF ADVENT. YEAR (C). Rev. Fr Boniface Nkem Anusiem PhD. (frbonnie.wordpress.com)
- “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” On the Fourth Sunday of Advent (insightscoop.typepad.com)
- Luke 1:39-45, “A Visit to Aunt Elizabeth’s” JUMC 20121223 (mysundaysermons.com)