Mary didn't waste a minute. She got up and traveled 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!
And Mary said,
I'm bursting with God-news;
I'm dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I'm the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It's exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for three months and then went back to her own home.
Two women. Neither of whom should be pregnant. One old. One who had never been with a man. Both pregnancies, miraculous.
They sang praises. They were filled with joy.
Mary’s song in particular was a beautiful recollection of the story of Israel. She made quite clear in her song that she really knew and understood exactly who her son would be.
So, I guess we can answer the question from the singularly worst Christmas song, “Mary Did You Know?” Yes! Yes she knew! She wrote a whole song about it. Sorry, I get a little worked up about that song.
As we consider the next two days let us give ourselves to joyful presence. Presence with one another and presence with the divine.
These two women lived in a time of awful persecution and oppression. They were living in a region that was under the thumb of the Roman Empire, one of the most brutal regimes ever. There were problems everywhere they looked. These two babies would not solve the vast systemic problems and injustices of their time just because they were born. But, they were signs and symbols that beauty and joy and goodness still exists. They were lights in an otherwise dark and dreary world.
The temptation that we face in our day and time, living through a pandemic where so many are suffering and so many are grieving, is to ignore the joy and beauty around us. We feel like we can’t celebrate the good things and the joyful things because of the pain. Yet, friends, we must. We must remember the beauty and the joy and the good. We must find the light in the darkness.
Like two women, neither of whom should be pregnant, let us sing songs of joy and gladness.
Tonight, find the light.
Tonight, be the light.
Tonight, let us sing!