Luke 1:35-44 (CEV)
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God’s power will come over you. So your child will be called the holy Son of God. 36 Your relative Elizabeth is also going to have a son, even though she is old. No one thought she could ever have a baby, but in three months she will have a son. 37 Nothing is impossible for God!”
38 Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant! Let it happen as you have said.” And the angel left her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 A short time later Mary hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea. 40 She went into Zechariah’s home, where she greeted Elizabeth. 41 When 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. 43 Why should the mother of my Lord come to me? 44 As soon as I heard your greeting, my baby became happy and moved within me.
56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months. Then she went back home.
Listening to this account again yesterday something struck me that I’d never thought of before and I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard discussed or preached on.
If Mary went to visit Elizabeth when she was “in her sixth month” and stayed three months, would she have been there for the birth of John the Baptist.
I mused this question on Twitter this morning and got this great reply
Mary, midwife to the one who prepared the way… Wow
How good are you at keeping promises? Do good intentions dwindle with the pressures of life? Do we make promises just to get out of a situation? Do we mean what we say, and do all we can to make it happen?
A promise is defined as “a declaration that something will or will not be done”, or “an express assurance on which expectation is based”.
God is an assurance on which our expectation can be based. God keeps his promises.
God has always made promises to his people: He promised Abram that he will be a father of a great multitude (Genesis 17:4); He promised Israel that they would be his people and they would be his God (Deut 29:10-15); He promised a new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34); and in this weeks reading from Micah he makes another promise. A ruler will come from Bethlehem, and this ruler will lead and care for his people by the name of God.
Israel had a bad history with Kings. God had never wanted them to have one, but they had badgered him until he let them try it their way. Some were good, but mostly they led the people astray. By Micah’s time the destruction of Israel was imminent – yet into that situation God still speaks his promise. A shepherd will come, and care for the sheep.
In the reading from Luke, we get the first whispers of that promise coming true. God has kept his promise. Mary is blessed, and so is her child. God is coming.
Mary made room in her life for God to fulfil his promises. I can’t imagine it was convenient for her to be pregnant. She would have had to endure gossip and being shunned by those who didn’t realise what was going on, her relationship with Joseph was jeopardised; but God asked and she responded.
God promises, God keeps his promises. In Mary’s pregnancy, the Lord has come, the King is here. As his King arrives, are we ready to receive him? Is there room for him in our lives? Do we allow God to fulfil his promises in us?
Joy to the world – let every heart prepare him room