About the author: John currently serves on the Board of Deacon at ZPC. He and his wife Linda have been members of ZPC for 20 years.
About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of hope, joy, peace, and love. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center. We welcome your comments and questions each day.
TODAY'S SCRIPTURE: LUKE 1:39-56
In the verses immediately preceding today's scripture passage, the Virgin Mary has just been honored with the stunning revelation that she will bear God's one and only son. One can only begin to imagine the amount of anxiety Mary was feeling as she was trying to process the impact of the news the Angel Gabriel delivered to her. This young woman, betrothed to the carpenter Joseph, was pregnant. How would God help her through this time as she worried about Joseph's reaction to the news? Would her family cast her aside? Would she be in danger from the townspeople of Nazareth, as word eventually spread?
Within the first chapter of the gospel of Luke we learn that Mary and a woman named Elizabeth are related in some way. Elizabeth was in the sixth month of a near miraculous pregnancy herself. She and her husband Zechariah were advanced in age, and Elizabeth feared she was well past the point in her life of giving birth. However, the Angel Gabriel alerted Zechariah six months prior that Elizabeth and he were to be blessed with a boy they were to name John. Well, we're told that Mary spent the next three months with Elizabeth and Zechariah.
What joy and comfort Mary and Elizabeth must have brought to each other in this highly unusual time in their lives. Suddenly, Elizabeth and Zechariah would understand the divine purpose of their soon-to-be-born son (John the Baptist). God was enacting his plan to bring salvation to mankind in the person of Jesus Christ through two very special women. And, Mary was provided the time to more fully appreciate her role and to find a sense of peace in the blessing bestowed on her. We see evidence of that in the words of "Mary's Song" as Luke records in verses 46-55.
Surely the Angel Gabriel announced both a miraculous birth and an immaculate birth to the whole world as realized through these two extraordinary women!
Reflect upon a period of time in your life whenever a close friend or relative provided comfort to you.
We thank you for the comfort and peace Elizabeth and Mary provided to each other. And, we ask for the Holy Spirit’s influence upon each of us so that we can provide comfort and peace to a special individual in our lives.