Blessed

The Visitation, Raphael, 1519
 “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” 
Luke 1:45 (NIV, 2010)
Growing up, as we read about the events leading up to Christ’s birth, Elizabeth was always one of my favorites.  I took great pride in knowing that there was a character in the Bible who shared my name.  
Last week, as I was reading the story, I thought about how incredible it was that God, in His faithful perfection, provided Mary a companion to encourage her along the way.  
When Mary is taking in the news of her pending birth, as we looked at yesterday, the angel says to Mary, “Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:36) 
A virgin birth obviously takes the cake, but God also miraculously helps Elizabeth conceive at her old age, which confirms even further that this is actually happening. (Though I’m sure the angel’s visit had already done a pretty good job).
Following the angel’s visit, Mary goes to see Elizabeth where she is strengthened and encouraged.  Another thing I love: not only is she not alone, but God provides someone to rejoice with her in what He is doing.

Upon seeing Mary, Elizabeth declares, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” 
  
Had there been any fear or anxiety about the events to come, I think Elizabeth’s greeting helped to quell those emotions in Mary.  She’s not scorned or rejected, but sweet Mary is incredibly blessed!  “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”  
Mary stays with Elizabeth for three months.  I would love to have been sitting around their table as these two pregnant women talked, laughed, ate, and rejoiced about both of their miraculous pregnancies.  Best of all, Elizabeth’s husband Zachariahs, couldn’t even talk during her pregnancy, so it was all girl talk all the time—delightful!   
Sometimes when we’re stepping out in our faith, we may feel alone, crazy, or scared, and we need people in our lives who can speak truth to us and help us know we’re not alone.  I love Elizabeth’s role; she doesn’t bring up any of the obvious questions, she simply rejoices.  “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”  
  

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