Donald R. Elly, M. Div.
“For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.” …And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,…” What is described here is joy that bubbles out of the relationship of Elizabeth and Mary. Both anticipate bearing children, who are gifts of the Holy Spirit.
As Luke describes them they are not just cousins, but each is called by God to unique roles in salvation for all the World. One is to prepare the way for the other who is God in human form, “the Word made flesh” to quote John’s Gospel. Though there were those who saw them as competitors, there was no confusion between them.
This gift, the work of the Holy Spirit, ought to cause us to leap for Joy. Imagine what Christmas would be like if we could take the faith of John and the obedience of Jesus and blend them together to make the Gospel of peace a reality? What are some other blessings in this passage that if applied by us could make this Christmas an occasion of jumping with joy?
Luke is the Gospel that highlights women and their pivotal role as instruments as prophets and proclaimers. Elizabeth takes on the role of prophet by identifying for us the role Mary is to play in the drama of Jesus birth. She, filled with the Holy Spirit, proclaims what Mary has not yet told her and what is not yet visible to the eye: Mary is pregnant. The relationship of these two women, one old and the other very young demonstrate what blessing has the power to do.
If we are to become blessings this Christmas, Elizabeth is an excellent model. Her words, welcome and gift of sanctuary all point to the redemptive power of God at work for all the world.1 Leaping for joy is what God might do if this Christmas we were to become blessing like Elizabeth and Mary. Wow! That is gift that can transform a world.
Prayer: God enable us to work together as John and Jesus and Elizabeth and Mary that the world may have cause to sing. Amen.
1. Judith Jones, “Commentary on Luke1:39-45“; pgs 1-2 and Jan Richardson, “A Blessing called Sanctuary”, pgs 1-3 informed the insights shared about the mutuality of John,the Baptist, Jesus, Elizabeth and Mary.
December 23rd, 2018; Cycle C; 4th Sunday of Advent
Micah 5:2-5a; Psalm 80:1-7;
Hebrews 10:5-10; *Luke 1:39-45