“Live and in person” Advent devotion for December 18, 2020. Read Luke 1:39-45 and Psalm 95.
“When Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.'” (Luke 1:41-44)
Sometimes while working in my study at church, someone will slip past the office manager, poke their head in the door and start speaking to me. I’ll literally jump out of my seat, startled by a presence I didn’t expect!
The unborn John, who would later be called “the baptist,” jumps at the sound of Mary’s voice. Elizabeth shrieks, too, startled by the unexpected appearance of the mother of the Lord in her home. Mary wasn’t anyone special until the angel’s announcement that she would give birth to the Son of God. Elizabeth didn’t think she was anyone special either, until the mother of the Lord honors her with a visit.
How did Elizabeth know? All Mary said was, “Hi, Elizabeth!” That’s when John started jumping for joy in utero like someone who has just won the big prize on The Price is Right. Elizabeth knew something was up. Suddenly she was in the presence of the Lord, just like Moses at the burning bush, Joshua before the big battle, or Jacob when he wrestled all night. Yes, it’s exciting when the Lord shows up live and in person!
Everyone has questions for Jesus. But wouldn’t it be delightful to have Mary stop by and visit? You’d be so excited and honored to have Jesus’ mother in your home! What would you ask her? “So what was it like? Tell me about Gabriel. What did he look like? How long were you in labor? What was Jesus like as a little boy? Were you surprised when the shepherds showed up? How strange were the wise men?” Would you ask her about the wine at Cana? Life in Nazareth? Or the crucifixion at Calvary?
For a while – about nine months – Mary was the temple, that place where the Lord lived among his people. Perhaps not as impressive as Solomon’s or Herod’s temple. But an incredible woman, mother and servant of the Lord, full of faith and hope, believing God’s words to her.
Thank you, Lord, for Mary and Elizabeth and so many mothers who have amazing stories to tell about you, your presence and your grace. Amen.