Luke 1:39-45 New International Version (NIV)

39 At that time, Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice, she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

This moment overflows not only with anticipation and joy, but also with fear and uncertainty. Often when faced with great challenges in our lives, we appeal to those we love for comfort, understanding and support just as Mary did when she went to see her cousin Elizabeth.  What a source of great joy when Mary discovers that elderly Elizabeth, who was barren, is also pregnant just as the angel Gabriel had foretold.  Elizabeth’s enthusiastic words confirm for Mary the angel’s message concerning the miracle of the Messiah’s birth.

Looking at Mary and Elizabeth and what they would face as mothers gives us an idea of the courage and strength God gave them to trust in His promises. They needed each other just as we Christians need the love and care of a gathering of people who are willing to bring the light and love of Jesus into our lives. Simply by sitting in the pew next to us on a Sunday morning our friends in faith strengthen us and welcome us on a journey of belief.

When we look up from our doubts and fears and see Jesus standing there in the form of a friend and confidant, we know that we can count on power beyond our own, and it gives us hope in times of great distress. How can we not reach out and support one another on this journey of faith? God can only be present in the world if we are willing to reach out and grab someone’s hand and say, “Here, let me help you.”

Prayer:  Lord, help our faith to grow along with our capacity for giving of ourselves to others. We often get so wrapped up on our own pursuits that we fail to lift our heads and look to the needs around us. May we always remember that you are beside us giving us strength and courage for the tasks at hand. Help us listen and hear your guidance as we strive to be your ambassadors. Thank you, Lord, for the comfort of your promises and the hope that comes as we remember Mary’s anticipation of the birth of the Messiah. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen                           

Cheryl Del Monte

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