God’s Word Goes Forth: Spread Tidings of Joy to Everyone
Luke 1:39-56: In today’s reading we meet two women – Elizabeth, advanced in years who heretofore had been barren, and Mary, a young unmarried virgin – who are joined by God’s Holy Spirit and chosen by God to bear the messianic forerunner and the Savior of the world. This account draws together the two preceding stories in Luke’s Gospel – the announcements of the births of John the Baptist (1:5-25) and Jesus (1:26-38). The reading concludes with Mary’s song of praise, known in various faith traditions as the Magnificat (from the Latin “magnify”).
Mary said, “My heart praises the Lord; my soul is glad because of God my Savior.”
Upon Mary’s arrival, how does Elizabeth respond to Mary’s greeting? In contrast to Zechariah being rendered speechless (Luke 1:20), Elizabeth is “filled with the Holy Spirit” and is given voice. Why does she say that Mary is “the most blessed of all women” and that the child she will bear is blessed? What do you suppose Mary and Elizabeth talked about during their time together while awaiting the impending births of their sons? Mary’s song of praise attests to God’s faithfulness. What verses reflect God’s faithfulness in the present activity? What verses reflect God’s faithfulness with regard to ancient promises? How is God’s faithfulness evident in your life?
Almighty God, in this season of Advent, we, like Mary, wait with hopeful expectation for the birth of the Holy One, trusting in the fulfillment of your promise. In faith, we wait with joyful anticipation for the coming of your greatest gift to us. How happy are we who believe! Lord God, we sing of your faithfulness. Amen.
Those awaiting the birth of a child
Luke 1:57-80: John the Baptist is born.