This Sunday is our last Sunday in Advent - a time of waiting and expectation of God's incarnation. Our Gospel this Sunday is the story Luke tells of Mary, knowing she is pregnant with Jesus, God's son, going to see her cousin Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-55).
Often called the visitation, the encounter between Mary and Elizabeth is full of joy, recognition, gratitude, and blessing. Luke immediately follows the annunciation with Mary’s journey to visit Elizabeth, who gives this unmarried pregnant girl not only a safe haven but also the first glimpse of what it means to be the mother of the Saviour. The encounter is full of mystery and grace: the mystery of new life forming but still invisible, and the grace of recognizing each other as the Spirit-filled mothers they are becoming.
The story is also full of theological gravity: as the women encounter each other, so do Jesus and John the Baptist. Yet the theological meaning is almost overshadowed by the sheer physicality of the encounter. Imagine the hasty travel, demonstrative greeting, joyful exclamation, the unborn John leaping for joy, and robust singing. As the celebration of Christ’s birth approaches, the four active and responsive bodies in this text remind us that this is, after all, the incarnation itself unfolding.
God becomes a body in Jesus, and that body will be offered up for the sake of the world. This body, recognized already by John in the womb, will eventually undergo the suffering and shame of death on a cross. Without losing sight of that big picture, today we enter into the up-close picture of Mary and Elizabeth’s encounter and share in the joy and gratitude they have in common with all who recognize Christ in their neighbour.
May you have a blessed day and joy-filled tomorrow.
Peace to you,