Part 2–Elizabeth

Opposing Miracles

Elizabeth was old, too old to have a baby. Mary was young, too young to have a baby. Elizabeth had waited through years of praying, begging, hoping, grasping for that precious gift of a child. Mary was barely engaged to be wed, only emerging into adulthood, just beginning to imagine the “one day” of a family. Elizabeth had given up on her dreams. Mary was full of aspirations and expectations of the future. Yet within months of each other, both found themselves with child. And under the most unusual circumstances.

Elizabeth, well past child bearing years, went into seclusion when she learned of her condition. For five months, she meditated, pondered, prayed. Imagine the collision of emotions in her heart during those months. Wonder. Praise. Fear. Excitement. Anticipation. Concern. Curiosity. How was she, an old woman, going to raise a child? And one who would be a prophet, a Nazarite, a forerunner of the Messiah. How special Elizabeth must have felt, joining the ranks of Sarah, mother of the Israelite nation.

And then she received a visitor. Her cousin, the young Mary. Have you ever had water thrown on your fire? Rain falling on your parade? Have you ever been sidelined? I imagine this is exactly how Elizabeth might have felt when Mary showed up on the scene, with child, mother of the Messiah. Talk about suddenly finding yourself playing “second fiddle.” Elizabeth’s joy might have been eclipsed by justifiable feelings of jealousy. But no. Instead, the baby in her womb leapt with delight, and Elizabeth cried out with wonder at the realization of what was happening. Her joy was not overshadowed with thoughts of her own glory. Instead it was expanded and multiplied as Mary sang an inspired worship song and these two women, both incredibly blessed, focused their hearts on God himself. What they had in common suddenly rendered all their differences–carved into their lives by time itself–moot.

The heart of a Servant
Elizabeth’s attitude challenges and inspires me. Her humility, her strength, her trust in the impossible. Her acceptance of a holy assignment, without measuring it against anything or anyone else, is the true heart of a servant. Is it any wonder her son John proclaimed ,concerning Mary’s son, Jesus, “He must increase, but I must decrease”?

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