"At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth." Luke 1:39-40
She was favored by God and her parents. Quietly and willingly she helped her mother in any way she could, humming softly as she went about her business. Simply, she was a joy to have around the house. She delighted her parents and found favor with her God. She was that picture-perfect child with a great big heart. But, she had a secret. A secret that could not be contained by words or her clothes much longer.
Unable to suppress this secret any longer she gather a few of her belongings and ran to the hills to the safety of her aunt's home. Trudging up into the rocky hills of Judah, Mary finally reached the one person whom might actually understand all that she held inside.
The Bible's account of the angel Gabrielle appearing to Mary doesn't read like a novel but let's just fill in the blanks, shall we? What was it like to be a young teen-aged Mary trying to work up the courage to tell her parents the exciting news that she was God's chosen mother of His son? How could they ever believe such a story when God himself had been silent for over 400 years? Why, they would just think she was trying to fabricate a wild story to cover up her own illegitimate pregnancy and shame! Who would ever believe her?
God did provide one person for Mary to run to. It was her Aunt Elizabeth, who in her own old age had miraculously received a similar miracle from the same God. She too was pregnant with a child who would prepare the way for Mary's son, Jesus. Even then, while John the Baptist and Jesus lay in their mother's wombs, God was working His plan to prepare the hearts of mankind to receive Him. Can you imagine the conversations Mary and Elizabeth must have had in the three months they spent together?
This old, old Christmas story is so much deeper, so much more moving than the birth of a baby on a cold winter's night. It's about God piercing our hearts with relationships, conversations, emotions of everyday life that lead to His coming.
Even today, as we prepare for Jesus' second coming we need to take time to read between the lines of our everyday situations...good and bad; easy and challenging. What is God preparing our hearts to do, to see, to witness?