“Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:39-45)
Every time I read this passage in Luke, I am amazed by the faith of Elizabeth. She sees Mary, most likely barely looking pregnant at all and yet, her first question is, “Why am I this honored, that the mother of my Lord would visit me?” This seemingly simple faith, she believed when her babe leaped in her womb at the sound of the voice of Mary and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. This seemingly simple faith, she believed after months of her husband not being able to speak a word that the Messiah would come now. Right there, right in the first moment, she saw and she believed and friends, I pray for a heart like that, too.
But the faith of Elizabeth is not the only remarkable part of this story here. What keeps pressing my heart, is her attitude towards Mary. Here, Elizabeth has been able to conceive after years of barrenness, a miracle that undoubtedly changed everything for her. And yet, her first words are: “Blessed are you,” and from there, she moves to encourage Mary, “Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Surely, carrying the holy Prince of peace in your womb might just be the greatest of miracles; but Mary still undoubtedly needed encouragement and comfort.
Friends, where are our hearts when we see the Lord bless our relatives, our friends, our people?
When we meet our people, are we the first to tell of the provision and the miracles the Lord has provided for us — or do we give space for the stories, the blessings, the miracles in others’ lives? When we see the Lord bless those around us, are we still intent on encouraging them — or do we figure they now have all they need for all things in life?
Beloved, if the joy of being close to Jesus made John the Baptist leap in the womb, just how much more should we be leaping in joy in all circumstances, knowing that we have the Holy Spirit dwell in us and we will get to spend eternity in heaven with Jesus. Truly, blessed is she who believed: who has known the Redemption’s story and felt it stir her heart, felt it build herself anew. And this we remember: that it is more blessed to give than to receive.