"At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth." Luke 1:39-40
Holding an unbelievable secret, Mary ran for the hills--quite literally--seeking the only one sharing her inexplicable circumstance.
Who would believe she received a visit from an angel, let alone a personal word from God and most explosively, carried his son in her belly by some miraculous conception? Who could fathom God's choice in Mary, an engaged, Jewish peasant girl?
And so Mary ran; ran as fast as her pregnant legs could carry her to Elizabeth--the only woman who understood the great honor and the great horror of carrying God's Promise into a dark, confused world.
I often imagine their relationship those three months--Elizabeth's relief to finally have a two-way conversation after six months living with mute Zechariah; Mary's doubts replaced as Elizabeth's undeniably swollen womb leaps for joy at her voice; Elizabeth's nurturing arms wrapped around Mary's retching body, feeding her unleavened bread and water until the nausea passed; their giggles watching Mary's tight, slender waist disappear under Christ-child bump--their hearts humbled knowing they carried fulfilled prophesies within--the second Elijah and God's Word made flesh--Immanuel.
Oh, can you imagine all the joys and fears and hope shared around Elizabeth's table? How wise for God to provide this companionship--this small community--to sustain one another physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Hasn't it been like that since Creation? God created man and woman to fulfill His desire for communion (with us and us with each other). We are meant to live in community--to share one another's burdens, joys, fears, accomplishments. But even more, we live to infuse God's hope and courage into one another's lives; to help tie the knots at the ends of our ropes and strengthen our hearts through God's word. We are God-flesh to others.
This Christmas, are you in need of some God-flesh wrapped around your shoulders? Pray God's provision for that person (s) who can wrap arms, speak encouragement, nourish starved, lonely hearts. Are you that God-flesh to someone in desperate need? Draw near and encourage that heart.
"Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing." 1Thessalonians 5:11
Lord, in the business of today, may we seek community--May we be your light, your arms, your love made flesh to those in need; not just the poor, but also the poor in spirit, the lonely, those in need of divine encouragement. Amen