Our praise today comes from the voice of Elisabeth, older cousin to Mary and the mother of John the Baptizer, who prepared hearts for the coming Messiah. I love Elisabeth’s story. She was an elderly woman who loved and served God all her quiet, unremarkable, childless days. No doubt she and her husband were the brunt of many whispered accusations and innuendos because to be married and childless was often considered a sign of God’s disfavor. Elisabeth and her husband were among the hurting faithful followers of God – and I have to believe that they were considerably dear to God’s heart. This couple pursued Him in spite of the fact that their hearts were broken by disappointment. Though they hadn’t received a child as tangible proof of God’s favor, they had the faith to believe that they were loved by God and that He cared for them. And then in the most unexpected of places and times, they receive a promise that they will have a son. Not just any son, this boy of theirs will be the one spoken of by prophets – He will tell the world that God is on the move. And God is moving in the womb of a cousin of Elisabeth’s , implanting a holy embryo there and now promising a young unmarried woman that she will also have a child. These two women – one elderly, married, and childless and the other young, unmarried, and with child – both are social outcasts and upon them fall the promise of advent.
When these two women meet for the first time in their pregnancies, the Spirit of the Lord falls on Elisabeth and she offers this praise:
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 1:42-45
Praise always follows the promise. These women believed that God could work the impossible and rejoiced in the knowledge that He saw them and had a place for them in His story. We’ll see this again throughout Advent, that God always has a place for you. Elisabeth worships God for His care and praises Mary’s full-hearted belief of God’s words. Advent is wrapped up in promises which spill over across time and into the ordinary routine of our lives. ” God loves you”, “God sees you”, “God is coming for you” – these are the promises that Advent whispers to our heart. And when our souls really grasp the truth of it, really believe that God’s love is enough, our voices will join in the praise and we will know that we have been blessed because the promises of God are always fulfilled.
Blessings to you,