Mary got up and hurried to a city in the Judean highlands. She entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. With a loud voice she blurted out, “God has blessed you above all women, and he has blessed the child you carry. Why do I have this honor, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. Luke 1:39-45
Mary’s cousin, Elizabeth, is barren and beyond childbearing age. In fulfillment of the angel Gabriel’s pronouncement, Elizabeth is six months pregnant with John the Baptist. She must be ecstatic! Certainly her husband Zechariah communicated the role their son will play in preparing the way for the Messiah. God is doing a great work.
As soon as Mary learns of her pregnancy, she travels 8 days to visit her cousin. Elizabeth doesn’t yet know that Mary is pregnant so it would be natural for her to greet Mary with her own excitement. But Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit, recognizes the mother of the Lord, and puts all the attention on Mary. Her joy is completely for Mary and Mary’s baby. What an intimate moment between two women and two boys! I imagine hugs, dancing, tears, laughter, and praise. Yes, lots of praise.
Elizabeth’s response is remarkable. She humbly passes the spotlight to Mary even though God is doing a great work in her as well. She validates the identity of Mary’s baby which certainly reassures Mary. Finally, Elizabeth encourages the “work” Mary is doing for God.
Excitement. Joy. Affirmation. Encouragement. May our response be the same when we see what God is doing in other people’s lives.