Advent Day 25: Leaping for Joy

Advent Day 25

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)

The high school I attended offered plenty of advanced classes:  college-level math, foreign languages no other high school offered, and so on.  I think the best class in the entire school was the one taught on the Vietnam War.   In that class, a veteran-turned-teacher took us out to interview parents whose children had died in that conflict.  I had the privilege of interviewing a couple who had never received their son’s body.  All they had was a photo of medics helping a wounded man whom they believed to be their son.

A few weeks afterwards, I interviewed my uncle, who served in Vietnam, and talked to other family members with military experience.  This subject had never come up before.  Previously, we had only seen one another at family gatherings, where we made small talk.  That uncle attended my graduation from seminary, and I’ll always treasure the interview he granted me.

I wonder what Mary’s cousin Elizabeth was thinking as Mary approached the house.  What we get in Scripture is the happy ending to the story.  Did Elizabeth have doubts about Mary’s mysterious pregnancy?  Did she ever doubt her own?  What was the relationship between the two women like before Mary showed up for this long visit?  Whatever Elizabeth was thinking, she was joyfully interrupted by her own unborn child jumping and dancing in her womb.  Then she knew something spectacular was happening.

Will you attend a family gathering this year, or host one?  What will your reaction be as the guests assemble?  Are you looking forward to getting together with everyone?

If you’re a young adult reading this blog, try this:   get to know another family member better during your holiday gathering.  Chances are you have been sitting at the children’s table for years (literally or symbolically), never involved in adult conversation.  So claim your place!  Be the young Mary who visits her older cousin Elizabeth.  There may be undiscovered joy in this family connection. 

Today’s daily Scripture reading from the PC(USA):

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