When Mary visited her, Elizabeth’s baby leapt for joy within her womb because Mary was under the favour and promise of God and fully embraced God’s blessing with faith. I want this faith. I want this elusive embrace of the wonder and promise of Christmas!
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
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 the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
The promise of God to Mary was initially too much for her. She was greatly troubled and questioned god’s messenger. By the end of this vignette, Mary is full of faith and we read, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her.
Do you believe God for all his promises to you? Christmas is the season which reconnects us with wonder and the miraculous. And when we wonder how the miraculous is possible, the Lord wants us to believe him. It’s hard isn’t it?
We are geared and reinforced and jaded into a skepticism which stifles wonder, extinguishes the seeds of belief, and reserves trust for those closest to us. Yet when we believe and we are filled with the faith and joy which is affirmed by the promises of God, others can tell.
When Mary visited Elizabeth, Elizabeth’s baby leapt for joy within her womb because Mary was under the favour and promise of God and fully embraced God’s blessing with faith.
I want this faith.
I don’t need to want after the favour and promise because God favours each of us and his promise is open to all. It is the faith and will to embrace God and his promise which is elusive.
Open yourself to the wonder and promise of Christmas. You might be surprised.