Fourth Sunday of Advent
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 are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
When reading the narratives that surround the nativity, it is sometimes interesting not to think about them from our times perspective, but rather from the time frame just before they were written. The visitation of Mary was in the Old Testament and Elizabeth and her son John the Baptist were a bridge between the old and new testaments.They also were from the Jewish temple faith, yet that was not the only religion or even the predominant religion of the day. That time frame also contained the Hellenic culture with its Gods plural and its philosophers and scholars. When Elizabeth says “And how does this happen to me,that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” it is almost taken for granted by modern Christians, but this single statement is a a profound challenge to the Ancient world. Their Gods resided above the heavens in the stars and the galaxies. Their Gods bestowed divine powers upon the likes of the Pharaohs and their Gods communicated with people like the emperor Cesar.How shocking that a woman would declare an unborn child Lord? The concept is shocking to their culture it also is something that Jesus preached throughout his ministry: “blessed are the children.” Mary and Elizabeth did not see God in mans accomplishments, they were not fooled by the architectural wonders or by battle ground victories. They did not see God in the great cities of the day or in the awe inspiring ceremonies. They saw and listened God in the gift that God had directly given them; a human life from its infancy granted to them. It was that fruit of Elizabeth’s womb that leapt for joy to announce Gods presence to her. She did not need a skilled astrologer to explain Gods intentions or a scholarly philosopher; a simple baby’s kick was all that was needed to explain Gods intentions.
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.