We are in the middle of the advent season on the Christian calendar. If you’ve attended any church services, you’ve been listening to sermons about the annunciation, and the wise men, and the star. On Sunday, I heard three different preachers use the word magnificant. Laypeople are more familiar with it as the Song of Mary, or that old hymn of the church, “My Soul Doth Magnify The Lord.”
I want to spend a moment talking about Luke 1, but not about any of the aforementioned characters. I want to talk about Elizabeth.
I have long been fascinated with her story. In my mind, Elizabeth is one of many heroine’s in the Bible who is overlooked and underappreciated. But also, Elizabeth’s story and life is one of the more relatable and attainable than others in this story. None of us are miraculously birthing the messiah. But any one of us could be Elizabeth.
First of all, Elizabeth got pregnant the regular way. There was no record of angelic visitation. Her husband came home from serving in the temple and she conceived. Was she blessed to be able to bear a child in her old age? Certainly, but that isn’t unheard of, even today.
Secondly, Elizabeth knew things that nobody told her. In my house, we call that Mommy Magic. You can call it woman’s intuition. You can call it Hoo-Doo for all I care, but Elizabeth had it. We have no record of Gabriel visiting Elizabeth. Zacharias can’t speak, and as far as Luke knows, Zacharias doesn’t know Mary’s situation at all. But the second she walks through Elizabeth’s door, Elizabeth knows not only that her little cousin is expecting, but that the baby in Mary’s womb will be great. She refers to the unborn child as Lord. She is the first on earth to do so.
Elizabeth is also accommodating. Despite the fact that she is about six months along in her own pregnancy, she makes room for Mary in her home. Mary stays with Elizabeth and Zacharias for nearly the entire third trimester of her pregnancy. Mary is a teenage girl, who is likely dealing with crazy hormones and possibly even morning sickness, herself. But Elizabeth makes room for her, not just to eat and sleep, but a place to worship and wonder and ask all the questions that a pregnant yet inexperienced girl might ask.
I marvel at Elizabeth’s patience, her strength and her kindness.
When I was a girl, my home church had what they called “The Elizabeth Circle”. I always wondered what they did on Saturday afternoons. I figured it was Bible Study and prayer, and probably a bit of gossip. I now know better. Yes, they probably did all of those things. But they also were an accountability group. The Elizabeth circle was a safe place to cry and to be encouraged. It was a place where you could ask questions as deep or as shallow as you’d like, and this kind group of women who had already been where you are encircled you and embraced you. I now know I need my own Elizabeth Circle.
So do you.