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Sunday, December 18, 2016
Scripture Reading | Luke 1:39–56
In those days 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 fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home. (NRSV)
Think of how scared and overwhelmed Mary may have felt, not to mention what a strong faith she had! I am not so sure if this happened to me that I would embrace it without some level of skepticism.
Certainly this message would be a topic for a good chat with someone, but who can she talk to about this? Who would believe her? The only person she knows who could understand her is Elizabeth. How interesting that God selects two most unlikely women to bear such important people into the world.
Mary needs steadying, guidance. So she travels to see Elizabeth, the one person God had prepared to help her. Mary’s first words to Elizabeth are praise to God for his awesome blessings upon her. She, a peasant girl, is now one whom all generations will remember and give thanks for. Mary is caught up in joy in the Lord!
God provided Elizabeth to Mary as a kind of spiritual mentor who would nurture and encourage her. Elizabeth was her friend and confidant, her mentor and advocate. We all need someone like Elizabeth to guide us in our faith journey. Both have ultimate belief in God despite these unbelievable circumstances.
Perhaps you are struggling hard to understand and make your way in your faith journey. I pray that God would enable you find an Elizabeth. Or maybe you’ve been through your own share of pain and struggle but you have found a strong faith. You can understand. You can sympathize. There’s a “Mary” out there who needs you. We need to surround ourselves with like-minded people to grow our faith and guide us to fulfill God’s will for us and to help others to find their way.
Father, I thank you for those “Elizabeths” whom you’ve used to mentor to me, and I thank you for those I’ve been privileged to mentor. Bless them today and during this Advent season, I pray. I ask you to open my heart and mind to your Word and rejoice in the coming of the Lord in this Advent season! In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.
Written by Lola Coke, Member of Presbyterian Church
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