“Mary didn’t waste a minute. She got up and travelled to a town in Judah in the hill country, straight to Zachariah’s house, and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit and sang out exuberantly.

‘You’re so blessed among women,                                                                                                        and the babe in your womb, also blessed;                                                                                        And why am I so blessed that the mother of my Lord visits me?                                                The moment the sound of your greeting entered my ears,                                                            The babe in my womb skipped like a lamb for sheer joy.                                                            Blessed woman, who believed what God said,                                                                                believed every word would come true.'” Luke 1:39-45.

What a beautiful exchange between these two country women! Family they were, but now they were bound together by something much deeper than family ties. Just as John and Jesus were joined by a mission from God that prompted the unborn prophet to respond to the embryonic Messiah, so their mothers were tied together in worship of the One who had chosen them to bear their sons.

In Mary’s excitement to share her story with Elizabeth and to share Elizabeth’s joy that she no longer bore the stigma of barrenness, she dropped everything and travelled across Galilee and Samaria on foot to the little Judean town where Elizabeth lived. Newly pregnant with all the discomfort that a fresh pregnancy brings, her joy carried her across the miles on winged feet.

It was a dangerous journey and she travelled it alone. It may have taken her many days. Where did she sleep? What did she eat? Did she find shelter in the homes of friendly countrymen? What of her journey through Samaria where she would have found only hostile stares and an unfriendly reception.

None of these things seemed to bother her. Luke’s story tells only of her arrival at Elizabeth’s house. It’s almost as though Elizabeth were expecting her. What unseen bond tied the older and younger women together? The moment Elizabeth laid eyes on Mary, something extraordinary happened. For a new mother-to-be, who feels only the unfamiliar flutters of her growing child, Elizabeth felt movement so strong that she said the baby danced!

At that moment both Elizabeth and Mary, and John and Jesus, were glued together by the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth burst out with an exclamation of acceptance and affirmation. Out of her mouth poured words that were powered by the Holy Spirit. She knew nothing of the chequered life story of Mary’s boy yet to be lived, but in her heart she already knew and accepted Him as her Lord.

What an extraordinary woman she was! Five months in seclusion, alone with God to savour and enjoy the unusual favour of God who not only miraculously rescued her from the unbearable state of barrenness but had also chose her to be the mother of the greatest of all the prophets and the forerunner of Messiah.

How often we miss true greatness in the glare of fame and bright lights! It is not always the ones who occupy the stages and platforms of the world who are the truly greats. God’s opinion of greatness is simple; childlike obedience to His will. Elizabeth spoke blessing over Mary because she believed and accepted God’s word to her, whatever the cost.

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Luella Campbell

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