Micah 5: 2-4
Psalm 80: 1-7
Luke 1: 39-55
Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.
With Mary and Joseph, both up to date on God's plan for them, both had the courage and patience and goodwill to follow through with their betrothal to each other and to raising the child that was in Mary's womb. Yet, you can imagine the rumors they feared might arise. Eventually, some will note the baby bump, and calculate that Mary was with child before the wedding. Some may suggest that Mary was unfaithful; some might suggest that Joseph and Mary was impatient and committed sin not waiting until after their wedding. Either way, because the prophecy of Christ demanded a virgin birth, Mary in particular was placed in a most unfortunate and incredibly unique situation.
Now, of all of Mary and Joseph's friends and family, the two who would have been the most understanding and protective of them would have been Elizabeth and Zechariah. They knew this because, Gabriel told Mary of the blessing that was given to Elizabeth. So due to this unique situation Joseph and Mary was placed under, They decided to seek the aid of Elizabeth, that is until the census kicked in and they were required by Roman law to go to Bethlehem.
So as Mary approached Elizabeth, this being the first time Mary and Elizabeth have met since Jesus was conceived, something marvelous happened. The unborn individual who was to be named John leaped in Elizabeth's womb upon meeting the unborn individual in Mary's womb who was to be named Jesus. This was not a meeting between two people, Mary and Elizabeth. This was a meeting between four people: Mary, Elizabeth, Jesus, and John. Now John, though touched by the Holy Spirit, was still an unborn human being. But in the eyes of God, it matters not if you are born or unborn, the blessing of meeting Jesus extends to all persons, for life begins at conception and it is faith, which comes from the Spirit, and not reason that leads living persons to acknowledging Christ. And we know for a fact that John the unborn, who was touched by the Holy Spirit, was most definitely so excited with being blessed by Jesus' presence that he leaped with joy.
And it was this leap that compelled Elizabeth to call Mary the Mother of our Lord, which is where we get the title Mother of God, and Elizabeth's proclamation of joy then compelled Mary to give her own proclamation, which we call today, the Magnificat, “My soul magnifies the Lord.” Mary must have been bottling up so many emotions: worry, confusion, elation, anxiety, the need to say something. It wasn't until Elizabeth acknowledged that Mary was blessed for in her womb was the Messiah, that Mary exploded with joy. A domino effect of giving praise, and it all began with the first jolt of joy, John leaping.
Let us pray,
Dear Heavenly Father, as Christmas comes closer fill us with your Spirit so that we too become so elated with happiness, knowing that Jesus did is already here and has already saved us, that we leap with joy and with words of praise of you on our lips. In your Holy Name we pray, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.