Holly and I went to the Christmas Program at Victory Christian Center last night. Some of her classmates at VBI were in the performance — so we settled in to enjoy..and enjoy we did! Several moments in the production sparked rabbit trails in my mind…
When the angel announced to Mary that she would bear Jesus, she was also informed that Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy. I wonder if, when Mary told her parents what had happened, she also told them of Elizabeth’s miraculous news. (Can you imagine what was going through Mary’s parents’ minds? They undoubtedly had mixed emotions about it all — but hearing that Elizabeth, too, was expecting probably shook them even more!)
Then, when Mary arrived and Elizabeth immediately responded with the confirmation of baby John leaping with joy in her womb as well as prophetic words over Mary, what a refreshing and healing moment that must have been for Mary! Here was the ONE PERSON in the entire world who really understood what she was going through — who knew, without having to be convinced by any effort on Mary’s part, what an awesome moment this was for Mary! Mary’s mom probably couldn’t rejoice with Mary — she was likely too bewildered to know how to respond….but Elizabeth, she was the “God friend” for Mary! (to coin a phrase from Tammy) Elizabeth could share Mary’s joy, excitement, nervousness, wonder, and amazement! Who else would believe such a thing? Who else would be able to listen to all the things that were going through Mary’s heart and mind, and NOT be critical or jealous?
Elizabeth was so delighted for Mary that she had no other inclination than to humble herself before the mother of the LORD. How sweet that moment must have been! Elizabeth obviously taught that same delighted humility to John because his words seem to portray gratitude for being allowed the opportunity to prepare the way of the LORD. (That’s some excellent parenting, huh?)
As I watched Elizabeth welcome Mary with such joy, I imagined Elizabeth to be someone like my friend Lavon, the Queen of Hugs! Lavon is probably the most welcoming person I’ve ever met. If Elizabeth was anything like Lavon, Mary must have hungered for that embrace of total love and acceptance all the way to Elizabeth’s home! To be welcomed with such joyous abandon must have wiped away all the hurt of unkind tongues that Mary had experienced up to that time. There is such healing in a moment like that!
I think, too, of how Joseph must have suffered much from the sting of gossip — with people wondering why he followed through with the marriage, or if he, too, had broken the vows. Did people no longer do business with him? Did they make comments that he shouldn’t even be in the synagogue with that kind of “sin” in his life?
I think nearly everyone knows what it feels like to be gossiped about, or to have their loved ones gossiped about. It hurts. As much as we try to set it aside, it still makes us wonder why.
God is such a Wonderful Defender! As I imagine the shepherds rushing to the manger to share with Joseph what they had seen and heard from the angelic host, how Mary must have wept with joy! Over and over again, for every hurt, God supplied a glorious display of His Seal of Approval! For every judgmental tongue in the past, God brought out another exuberant shepherd proclaiming Christ and bringing others in to see the King of Kings!
I just gotta say HOW FUN IS THAT? Doesn’t it just make you want to run up to the throne of God and give Him a big hug! Way to go, God! Way to go!