Luke 1:39-45, 56 (ESV)
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “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.” … And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.
Mary makes a snap decision to go see Elizabeth and went with haste to her. You might guess they are sisters, except that the age difference is much too large for that. Besides, in that case Gabriel would have said “sister” instead of “relative.” It sounds like Elizabeth is a dear aunt.
In any case Mary feels close to Elizabeth and races to her side. Little did she know how wondrous this trip would be.
In that day, a pregnancy at Elizabeth’s age was very high risk, especially a first pregnancy. Mary was concerned for Elizabeth’s health and safety, but God had a higher purpose for Mary’s visit.
First off Mary gets yet another confirmation that God has great things in store – this time for Elizabeth’s child as well as hers. She can stop worrying about Elizabeth’s pregnancy now; God has plans for this kid.
But Mary stays for three months. This helps answer a key question. How did Mary know that Gabriel wasn’t just telling her that she would get pregnant on her wedding night? How did she know instantly that he was referring to virgin birth?
We now see that her wedding was a long way off. We don’t know how long, but it must have been a lot more than three months; otherwise, she couldn’t have just taken off like this.
So the assumption that Gabriel was referring to virgin birth makes perfect sense.
A few years ago, I told my children that if they didn’t go visit their great-uncle soon, they might not get another chance. They collaborated and they went. It was an irreplaceably priceless move; God clearly blessed their visit. The two families were not all that distant before, but they came much closer together and the years since have seen some miraculous moments. There’s no telling how things might have been different had they not seized the day.
Prayer is not a substitute for action. Action bathed in prayer is especially powerful.
We all have loved ones we pray for. Is there someone you need to reach out to? Ask God for direction.
Even a postcard counts. Or maybe you should go.
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