Prepare to listen. Light all the colored candles. Silently pause then receive this assurance: ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people.’ (Lk 1:10)
Read: Luke 1:39-45
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’
Blessed. It’s an overused word in today’s culture and thus it’s meaning has become undervalued and impoverished. For most people, it means good things have happened. A blessed person is one who has few troubles and many successes. Based on today’s usage, I doubt anyone would call Mary blessed. She lived in poverty with few, if any luxuries; she was an unmarried pregnant teenager in a culture that stoned unwed mothers. Yet Elizabeth calls her blessed. Twice. Obviously, she had a different understanding for this very biblical term, which we see in her two reasons for calling Mary blessed.
First, she was chosen by God to be the mother of the Lord (Messiah). Chosen to be a God-bearer, to give to the world all that God can give—God’s Son. So what that she was poor and unwed. She was God-bearer. Blessed indeed! Second, she was blessed because, despite the hardship this entailed, she believed the empirically impossible (a virgin birth) was possible. Mary was blessed because, at the end of the day, she accepted God’s gift and hardship with deep humility.
What caught your attention in these verses? Sit with that and wonder.
Respond to Jesus in prayer
Lord, I desire today to live with the humility and acceptance of Mary. Give me your grace to experience your blessing that doesn’t necessarily exclude hardship. Amen.
Go and live obediently in the world as one blessed by God.