Mary and Elizabeth: A lesson in love and nurture

Who do you look up to and aspire to be like?

Who do you run to first when you need a sympathetic ear? Or when you need an understanding heart?

Whose advice do you value enough to go seek it out?

For Mary there was one answer: Elizabeth.

The angel came, Mary consented to let God’s will reign in her life and immediately she needs/wants to talk to Elizabeth. Something people thought was impossible is happening to Elizabeth. Something that defies the imagination is happening to Mary. They need to talk. A woman too old to conceive and carry a child is six months along. A woman almost too young has conceived of the Holy Spirit and is just pregnant. Two ends of the age spectrum separated by time and distance. Yet they are united by the God of their ancestors, of Abraham, Isaac, Joseph and more. There is really much that should separate them, yet what brings them together is more powerful than the unique circumstances which might isolate them. So Mary made the journey.

They not only talked, they sang praises to God! They were in close fellowship for almost three months. I can imagine them chatting over meal preparation, cutting the vegetables, preparing the bread, laughing and talking together making work seem like fun. Walking together to the well, one carries water to drink and the other carries the Water of Life. As the days pass, they walk a little slower, yet still with eager anticipation for the events yet to occur in their lives. It is a holy time of communion and mutual love and understanding not so different from our walk with the significant people in our lives.

The story of Mary and Elizabeth’s time together is a favorite of mine. I see them giving each other a very special gift – the gift of time. They took the time to talk about their common situations, about being pregnant and how that changed their lives. They may have talked about how to cope with those changes, and shared the joys, the concerns and the holy awe. These are things they might not have been comfortable saying to anyone else. Perhaps most important is the fact that Mary needs the nurture of this relationship and this fellowship with Elizabeth to help strengthen and prepare her for what lies ahead. Elizabeth’s home and heart is a safe place for Mary to rest as they enjoy their mutual fellowship and support.

We all have a desire at times to share things with the people we love. Special Joys and happy times are meant to be shared. So are concerns and cares. God places people in our lives for just such times as these;   we really are His gifts to each other. Our Father’s love for us is so great that He gives us what we need even when we don’t know what we need.

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