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

 

Traveling has always been part of the Christmas story.  Traveling has always been part of the entire Christian story.  But more than that, traveling IS the story of human life.  From ancient ancestors crossing the land bridge in the north or heading across vast seas on rickety little boats, we have always been on the move.  We are always going somewhere.

 

Mary rushes to the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth.  Joseph taking Mary to Bethlehem.  The shepherds leaving their flocks behind to look for the stable.  The three wise guys from the east chasing the star.  The whole story is one of movement.  Of God coming to us in the baby in the manger.

 

It will start this weekend.  People piling into cars with the presents in the trunk.  People heading to the airport to leave or to pick up.  Homes are being cleaned and food is being bought and sheets are being washed – all part of the journeys of this season.

 

Not all of these journeys are full of joy.  There will be fear, nervousness, anxiety in plenty of traveling hearts.  There will be memories – good and not so good – of Christmases past and hopes that this year will be better or as good as “that one” was.

 

The season brings out the best of us and the worst of us and then drives us into one another’s company again.  Because that is always what our movement has been about, to be together, to fight back the darkness, to strive toward hope, healing, life.

 

Then the moment arrives and we are there.  Elizabeth hears Mary’s greeting.  We come to that front door, or to that brightly lit church sanctuary, or to that street that always has brought us into our home town – we get where we are going and we are there.  The child leaps for joy in Elizabeth’s womb.

 

The waiting is over.  The trip has reached its destination.  The family is gathered.  The friends are all at the table.  The organ is playing and the congregation is singing and the angel chorus echoes in the farthest reaches of our imaginations.  And for those blessed with ears to hear, God is with us.  Emmanuel.  In the strangest of places.  In the most unexpected of ways.

 

Bringing what?  Bringing gifts.  Perhaps joy, perhaps anger, perhaps fear, perhaps gratitude.  But always bringing just what we need to take us to that next step on our journey.  For God will always travel with us.

 

Emmanuel.

 

May God bless you this weekend and throughout the Christmas season.

 

Let us pray:  O come, O come, Emmanuel.  Come to us in our broken hearts and give us hope.  Come to us in our broken bodies and bring healing.  Come to us in our hopes and dreams and guide our journeys.  Come to us in our gatherings and give us gratitude.  Come to us when we least notice you and when we need you the most.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

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2 Responses to “Luke 1:39-45”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Beautiful message.

  2. Carolee Groux Says:

    The meaning of Emmanuel is “God with us”. Oh come, oh come into our hearts, our homes, our churches, our lives, no matter where we may find ourselves on Christmas.
    “Come in today, come in to stay, come into our hearts, Lord Jesus.” ____from a childhood Sunday School song.

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