“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:39-45
It’s hard not to approach Christmas and reread the story of the coming of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And so, just as my brothers and sisters who are pastors are preparing for Advent in their churches with much anticipation and excitement, so my focus must be on the coming King.
I find myself in Luke this morning just after the angel has visited Mary and told her that she is going to bear the Messiah. Certainly the Jews were expecting this. And he had to come from a particular Jewish woman who God chose as holy, pure and right. Could it have been every Jewish girls dream to be the one who bore the Messiah, the Christ, to the world?
Mary just met with the angel and the first thing she does after this meeting is rush to see her cousin Elizabeth who the angel mentioned as being in her sixth month and giving birth to a child. She hurries off and goes to “a town in the hill country of Judaea” and there she enters the house of Zechariah and Elizabeth. And “when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”
This is awesome. Mary hears great news and wants to share it. She runs to her cousin and probably one of her best friends to share the news because she is included in the promise. When she enters the house and Elizabeth hears her voice two things happen — first, her baby leaps in her womb. Even her baby who we would discover is Jesus’ future and first cousin, John the Baptist, is awakened when pre-infant baby Jesus enters the house while still in Mary’s womb. And second, Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
I can speculate that since the angel in Luke 1.35 told Mary, “the Holy Spirt will come upon you,” that it happened immediately. Therefore, both women were filled with the Holy Spirit. The contagious nature of the Holy Spirit is spreading from Mary to Elizabeth. And the physical effects of God’s Spirit entering human beings reawakens them to his power and presence and to miraculous deeds.
The first thing Elizabeth does is speak a word of blessing to Mary and acknowledge that she is the future mother “of her Lord.” She then makes a proclamation saying, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
The lesson is this — when the Holy Spirit shows up he stirs up his promises. He moves in the hearts of his people, he reawakens us to his power and potential. The Holy Spirit of God came upon these women, which is significant in itself since women were not thought to be spiritual leaders, and he blessed them like never before.
So my question is this — What would it take for us to allow the Holy Spirit to reawaken our hearts to his presence this Christmas? Why not seek his face, call upon his name, and lean into is grace so that we too might proclaim his goodness and be filled with the inexplicable presence of God?
Why not call out to God today for his presence? What are you waiting for?
“O Lord God, Christmas is about the coming of Jesus, his birth and blessing to the world. We who are followers of the way are called to give him glory and exalt his name in praise. We are called to proclaim to the world that He has come. Just as Mary and Elizabeth were filled with the Holy Spirit and thus testified to your grace, so shall we. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen