Mary didn’t waste a minute. She got up and traveled to a town in Judah in the hill country, straight to Zachariah’s house, and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly,
“You’re so blessed among women, and the babe in your womb, also blessed! And why am I so blessed that the mother of my Lord visits me? The moment the sound of your greeting entered my ears, The babe in my womb skipped like a lamb for sheer joy. Blessed woman, who believed what God said, believed every word would come true!”
Many, many years ago (perhaps even longer than that) my family were on holiday when my A level results came out. I did well (of course). But my cousin did even better – and my aunty rang my mum to let her know. I was deflated – and decidedly upstaged. How dare my cousin steal my thunder on my big day? The day was about me, not about him.
I’ve always thought that Elizabeth must have felt the same. There she was, with her husband, expecting the child that they believed was never going to happen, basking in the warmth of love from their friends and family when up skips Mary, considerably younger and, for the sake of literary drama, much prettier, announcing that SHE’S preggers, too!
I would have been absolutely fuming. How dare this young upstart upstage me? ME? Whilst I, to be honest, wanted to slap my cousin very hard, Elizabeth is far more gracious and shares Mary’s joy and excitement. As did Elizabeth’s unborn child.
Families are sometimes difficult – we don’t get to choose them and we don’t always get on with them. There are relationships that go sour, they sometimes disappoint us – as well as making us happy and feel safe and secure. At times like those, let us remember the gracious Elizabeth and just be happy that we have family and be glad that they have good news to share.
mother and father to us all,
we give thanks for our families,
for parents who show us the way,
for children who look to us for guidance
and for siblings and cousins who grow as we grow.
We remember those
for whom family is not a pleasant experience
and ask that they can feel the light of your love shine on them
in the difficult times.
Leo Roberts is the Children and Youth Development Officer for the North Western Synod.