Mary Visits Elizabeth
39A short time later Mary hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea. 40She went into Zechariah's home, where she greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, her baby moved within her.
The Holy Spirit came upon Elizabeth. 42 Then in a loud voice she said to Mary:
God has blessed you more than any other woman! He has also blessed the child you will have. 43Why should the mother of my Lord come to me? 44As soon as I heard your greeting, my baby became happy and moved within me. 45The Lord has blessed you because you believed that he will keep his promise.
Who is your Elizabeth? And who is your Mary? This passage is one of my most favourite from the Christmas story. It is about Mary fleeing to a safe place. It is about Elizabeth welcoming her. It is about Jesus. It’s about John too. And, of course, it is all about further confirmation of the wonders that are about to happen.
But it is also about rejoicing with those who rejoice. Hugging those who need one. Listening. Offering an ear, a room and a bed. It is about friendship in God’s family.
And, oh, how precious that kind of friendship is.
In my own Christian life, I have deliberately and often helped create groups of women who meet weekly for Bible studies. I do this for the good of the church, but really and selfishly, I do it for the good of me.
I’m sure from the black and white typed pages of the church bulletin, nothing could sound more ordinary. A group of mostly-middle aged and older women who have the time and luxury to meet mid-week in the morning, drinking coffee and eating sweet things while doing a Bible study. Yawn.
But of course, it is in the midst of ordinary that extraordinary always must break through.
In the groups I have been in, bridges are built sturdy and strong for the hurting to walk across when they need them the most. We laugh at silly things and yes, we go down rabbit trails. But we listen to each other. We celebrate victories and hold the hands of the women who hurt.
And here is something true, that I bet you already know by now: You never, ever really know what is going on in the lives of people around you. Until they let you.
In my life, the only hospitality I regret is the hospitality I did not offer. The only friendships I regret are the ones I did not make. If you do not have an Elizabeth or a Mary, you really should go find one.
Dear God, Thank you for this wonderful, warm story of friendship and community. Please bring into our lives friends with whom we can share both joy and sorrow.