Usually at about 6:00, the Kerchners find ourselves sitting at our dinner table getting ready to eat. Typically, we only pray before eating. But this week, we’ve been doing our advent reading first. In my mind, this seemed like the perfect family moment, but getting them to sit nicely and quietly and not touch their food while we read our passage may be a little ambitious for my family of 3 hungry, growing boys. (By the way, we use this felt tree with ornaments that we pin on it each day for our advent calendar. I posted about it last year, you can check it out here.)
Anyway, the other night we read about the angel appearing to Mary and then Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth. The angel came to Mary and told her that she was going to have a baby. She questioned how that could be because she was a virgin. The angel told her about the Holy Spirit coming upon her, but also added something that is easy to ignore.
“Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 2:36-37)
The angel was basically saying, look at the miracle of Elizabeth getting pregnant, if God can do that, He can also do what he’s promised to you, Mary. The very next part is about Mary visiting Elizabeth. It’s awesome that when Mary walked in, Elizabeth’s baby in the womb, who was John the Baptist, “leaped for joy” (Luke 2:44). The idea here being that John the Baptist while still in the womb recognized the presence of his Lord, also still in the womb. Pretty cool.
But as we were reading it, that’s not what stood out to me. Instead, I was struck by how much God knows a women’s heart. He knew that 14 year-old Mary would need a friend. He knew that most people would condemn, ridicule, and gossip about her – a pregnant, unwed woman. He knew that the tender-hearted woman would need the encouragement and joy that would come from a friend who believed her. And I think that’s why the angel told Mary about Elizabeth. So she would go to her.
I thought of how many women God has placed in my life to encourage and uplift me through various seasons. When my oldest was falling apart in school and also started having seizures. He put my friends Christine and Emily in my life. Christine held my hand and walked me through the school issue. Emily gave me confidence and assurance through the seizures. When Jeff and I were having some marital issues, he gave me my friend Deanna to go and cry to. When I was at my end and crying out about my obesity he gave me support, encouragement, and inspiration from Susan, Jen, and Justine.
I could go on and on, because truly God has given me so many “Elizabeths”. Thank you God for putting them in my path. Thank you, my “Elizabeths”, for your love and support and encouragement.
Do you have Elizabeths in your life? I’m praying you do and that you would go to them when needed. Notice, Elizabeth did not come to Mary, Mary went to her! I’m also praying that we would all be someone else’s Elizabeth when the time comes. Because after all, Elizabeth opened the door to Mary and embraced and welcomed her into her home for 3 months!
Pressing on Together,