“In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 1:39-45)
You need to understand, beloved reader, what is meant “in those days.” Elizabeth’s, the mother of John the Baptist, pregnancy was firmly established. And Mary had just found out that she was pregnant – a very different type of pregnancy than her cousin Elizabeth’s. One that confused her and concerned her because unlike her cousin she was not married and had not tried to conceive. The conception was placed upon her, and while she willingly accepted it (“Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word. “ [verse 38b]) it still would be a difficulty and an embarrassment. But when Elizabeth greets her will understanding and enthusiasm, Mary’s fears were vanished. And the writer of Luke gives to her a “Song of Praise.”
“And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” (Verses 46-55)
I have at other times and on other occasions commented on the likelihood or unlikelihood of these being Mary’s (or Elizabeth’s) words. But during the time of Advent is not the time to stand on such ceremony. Who of us have been so blessed or called upon by God to be part of a divine plan? And who knows what we might say or reflect on such an occasion?
But really, is it so out of our experience to be part of God’s divine plan? Are we not, as followers of God, part of God’s divine plan? All of us have an important role in bringing God’s message to a hungry and needy world. Or living out the example of Jesus Christ to a world that is sorely in need of love and compassion. We may not carry a messenger of God or the child of God in our body. But God and Christ can be in our soul and spirit, and that alone might cause us to speak forth or act in ways that seem beyond ourselves. Indeed, I sometimes have that feeling when I sit down to write to you beloved reader, that something beyond myself is guiding and inspiring my words and writings. It is not so strange. It is not beyond the human experience to be used by God. And perhaps that is part of the mystic of Advent; that we are prepared and drawn into God’s divine plan.
May this Advent, beloved reader, be filled with God’s blessing for you. And may you be filled with God’s blessing. Selah!