Mary Visits Elizabeth
Luke 1: 39-66
This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger. (Luke 2:12)
The Gospel of Luke begins with the announcements of two upcoming births. The first announcement was to Elizabeth and Zechariah. Zechariah and Elizabeth had no children and were getting old. It is likely they had accepted they would remain childless. Then an angel from God surprised them with the news that not only would they have a son but also this son would have an important job to do for God. Their son would prepare people for the coming of the Lord.
The second birth announcement in Luke is the story we read last week of Gabriel telling Mary she would give birth to God’s Son. Gabriel also told Mary that her relative Elizabeth was expecting a baby. The two storylines merge at Mary’s visitation to Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, her child leaped in her womb. Elizabeth told Mary the baby had jumped for joy in the presence of the Lord. There is no indication that Elizabeth knew of Mary’s pregnancy prior to her visit. When her baby jumped for joy, Elizabeth took this as a sign. Elizabeth’s baby, who grew up to become John the Baptist, identified Jesus as Lord even when they were both still in the womb.
Upon seeing Mary, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and made several pronouncements. She told Mary that God had blessed her and the child she was carrying. Elizabeth also questioned why she had been given the honor of the Lord visiting her. Even though an angel had told Mary that she was pregnant with God’s Son, it must have been reassuring to receive this affirmation from Elizabeth.
Following Elizabeth’s greeting, Mary made a joyful response of her own, praising God with a song that has become known as the Magnificat. Mary recalled God’s actions in the past and trusted in God to continue to be at work in her life. God is at work in each of our lives as well, and remembering this truth helps us respond with joy.
Jesus is God’s gift to all people.
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