Monday, December 14th Luke 1:39-45

In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” Luke 1:39-45

It is such a common story to hold such a miracle.

What could be so common as Mary traveling to spend some time with Elizabeth? That’s what women do. Pregnancy is a communal event. As overwhelming as it is, no one can keep it to themselves. Everybody gets excited. Everybody has an opinion and everybody has a story. Showers and decorating and advice are as much about being pregnant as cells dividing and clothing that no longer fits.

Maybe there is a bit of shame in Mary’s visit as well. We read too quickly if we bypass the questionable nature of this pregnancy. It wasn’t planned. The timing wasn’t right. When he first heard of it, Joseph’s knee-jerk reaction was to call the whole thing off. There was a day when such pregnancies included a young woman having to “go away for awhile” for the sake of her family’s honor.

But there was nothing shameful in the greeting that met Mary – “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Blessed are you, in the best sense of that word. For Mary had indeed been blessed, and through her, the world would be blessed as well.

For centuries now, Christians praying the Rosary have remembered this specific moment in the faith, this meeting of two women, both chosen, both blessed, both literally carrying the promises of God, one carrying Jesus.

To remember this moment in awe and wonder, not just this moment but the simple women who shared it, is to see not only them but also God with an insight we ought never lose. The Creator of the Universe bends low to meet us where we are.

In his Christmas sermon in 1531, Martin Luther said of Mary: “[She is the] highest woman and the noblest gem in Christianity after Christ…She is nobility, wisdom, and holiness personified. We can never honor her enough. Still honor and praise must be given to her in such a way as to injure neither Christ nor the Scriptures.”

Such a common event which contains such a miracle. So it is.

Let us pray: Gracious Lord, as we continue to walk ever closer to the memory of your birth among us, we give you thanks for doing such uncommon things through such common women. May the joy of Elizabeth and the humility of Mary create room in our lives so that this Christmas season might come to us as if for the very first time. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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