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Jesus and John

Friday, December 21, 2007

Luke 1:41-44
When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy."

Affirmation for everyone this afternoon. Mary needed to hear Elizabeth's words. Like anyone would, she must have questioned her experience, and even after Joseph's parallel dream she still was nearly alone. Elizabeth provided her with support and sisterhood. No doubt Elizabeth needed much the same.

They were both pregnant, one near the end of her life, the other at the beginning. Their husbands loved them, supported them and held them, but they didn't know anything about carrying babies. Especially not babies like these, announced in advance by angels.

And these babies knew one another. From deep within each woman the tiny babies communicated everything necessary. Gabriel told Zechariah that his son would be filled with the Holy Spirit from the day of his birth. Maybe even before: when he jumped, Elizabeth was filled up herself with God. She knew what she could not know otherwise, and acknowledged Mary in the same way countless millions of people continue to acknowledge her today. "Blessed art thou among women."

A young unmarried teenager, unexpectedly pregnant, needs to hear whatever will help her hold up her head. She might be ashamed and angry even as she is also full of joy and expectation. I'll bet Mary heard nearly everything from the folks at home except "Blessed art thou among women."

She stayed with Elizabeth for three months No doubt they talked and prayed together often. Elizabeth had her child and he was called John. And Mary's time was soon to come.

Let me be deeply grateful, Lord, for moments when I recognize you. Let me leap like John in his mama's womb.

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