For the last two episodes, we’ve been following Luke’s account of events leading up to the birth of Jesus. Mary and her elderly cousin Elizabeth both had miraculous pregnancies. Not only that, both had received supernatural messages from God. We left off learning that the angel Gabriel told Mary that Elizabeth was six months into her pregnancy. This amazing news prompted Mary to visit her cousin, who being an older woman, would likely need help. Today, let’s listen to what happened when Mary arrived at Elizabeth’s house:
A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.” Mary responded, “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me. He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him. His mighty arm has done tremendous things! He has scattered the proud and haughty ones. He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands. He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful. For he made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.” (Luke 1:39-55)
This is one of my favorite passages in the entire Bible! Mary and Elizabeth were filled with the Holy Spirit and rejoiced. They celebrated God’s plan, not just for them, but for all of humanity. Upon hearing Mary’s greeting, Lukes says Elizabeth “gave a loud cry” and exclaimed, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.” And why did she say Mary was blessed? Because Mary believed that the Lord would do what he said. Then Mary responded, prophesying: “Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For the Mighty One is holy. His mighty arm has done tremendous things! He has scattered the proud and haughty ones…brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble. He has remembered to be merciful...to Abraham and his children forever.” Wow! Though Mary may not have understood exactly how she became pregnant, she absolutely understood God’s Plan. More than a personal miracle, she believed that her Son would change everything: every social, economic, and political structure.
This Christmas, remember that Jesus isn’t all about you and me getting and giving presents, God is busy changing the world, one human heart at a time. On this Christmas Monday, let’s celebrate Jesus. O, come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord!