Sunday 19 December 2021

Bible Book:

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. (vs 39-40)

Luke 1:39-45 Sunday 19 December 2021

Psalm 80:1-7


Mary, who was not yet married to Joseph, had discovered from the angel Gabriel she was going to have a baby. When you think what had just happened, and you consider the community of which she was a part and what might happen to her in these extraordinary circumstances, it is hardly surprising that she went with haste somewhere, anywhere. And why not to her cousin, Elizabeth, to whom something also extraordinary had happened? It is a long journey from Nazareth in Galilee south to the hill country of Judea, near Jerusalem where Elizabeth's husband Zechariah was a priest in the Temple. It would have taken several days. Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months. You can read chapter one of Luke's Gospel for the whole story.

This is an intimate picture of two pregnant women meeting and sharing their experiences of God working in the most unbelievable way in each of their lives. Unlike many women in the biblical narrative, we know their names and where they lived, and we hear their words. Their meeting and communication reveals their trust in God through the inexplicable events of their lives; their acceptance that, through them, heaven has come to earth and God is among God’s people.

Above all, this is a story of unquestioning trust in God even when earthly circumstances are threatening: as a pregnant, unmarried young woman, Mary was in significant danger of being stoned to death. In St Matthew’s version of this event (1:19-21), we read that Joseph was preparing to break their engagement quietly so as not to bring disgrace on Mary, but an angel persuaded him otherwise. He, too, trusted the word of the Lord.


To Ponder:

  • Think of a time when everything seemed to turn upside-down for you and all you could do was to trust in God for a good outcome. How was that?
  • Imagine you are standing beside someone for whom life has taken a totally unexpected turn – what might you say, if anything? 


Loving God, grant me the insight and grace to remember that you are Immanuel – God with me – whatever may happen in my life. Amen.

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