This week, as we prepare for Advent 3, we will look at Mary and Elizabeth.
Christmas for them meant the favor of God (1:23-25, 26-38)
Elizabeth, an old woman, is barren — a sign of the lack of God’s blessing. Her barrenness was an opportunity for God to step in with a miracle of provision so that God’s work could move to the next step. Her disgrace is removed.
Mary, a young woman, is not yet married — and expecting marriage with Joseph. God’s angel declares to her that she will become pregnant at the hand of God. She to is favored by God in “housing” the Messiah.
Old woman, young woman; it doesn’t matter. God is at work. The male voice has been silenced (Zechariah’s) and the other male voice has been re-shaped (Joseph). The women are expectant, trusting, and their voices sing with praise about God’s favor.
Old woman: mother of the prophet who will turn the ages. Young woman: mother of the Son of God. The prophet will point to the Messiah, and the Messiah will point to the Kingdom. Two mothers favored because their sons learn to point.
Old woman: jubilant at a pregnancy; young woman: bewildered by a miracle. God’s work is mysterious, and it is best understood by accepting it as it is.
And no one exhibits this better than Mary: “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
The favor of God comes when God’s favor comes — expectant, we receive it; jubilant, we thank him for it; mysterious, we wait to see the work of God unfold.