Mary and Joseph were on their way to Bethlehem journeying through the rocky terrain. Mary at this time was most likely in her 9th month of pregnancy. The distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem was about 80 miles. As a woman, I cringe at the thought of being nine months pregnant riding a donkey with steep inclines over treacherous rock terrains. Aside from all the stop’s to eat , also try to imagine how many bathrooms breaks she would have needed. This journey on foot would have taken about four days! Since Mary would have needed to make many stops along the way, this would make a seemingly shorty journey into about a week. Like most women during pregnancy, we grow closer to our spouses and share an intimacy that binds us together forever. Mary’s story from the annunciation to the nativity, mirrors our lives and our growing relationships we encounter with God.
You may be questioning my last statement so let’s break down today’s Gospel about the annunciation to understand what I mean. I marvel at God asking Mary’s permission first, and her responding”yes” to conceive in her womb the Christ child. Think about this, no one at the time believed the Messiah would come into the world by a virgin conceived by God. They hoped and believed that the child they carried and conceived by their spouses would turn into the Messiah. This concept of being miraculously conceived is not only a surprise, but raises many questions and brings with it fear. “How can this be since I have no relations with a man?” Isn’t this similar to our lives when we encounter God through prayer, “how can this be? What??? are you sure?” Panic and fear sets in so the Angel like our friends and family reminds Mary of what God has already accomplished. Sometimes being reminded of the past helps us to move forward into the future. God miraculously opened the barren womb of Elizabeth, her relative to conceive a son in her old age and is now in her sixth month of pregnancy. This event had to be on everyone’s lips at the time, but Mary needed to be reminded to dispel her fear and increase her trust and faith in God.
Mary sets out to visit her cousin, which may be the only other living person that knows what it is to be an agent of God’s almighty power. To prepare her for the upcoming events of her life, she needs to share her experience with Elizabeth and learn from her. Who else is going to believe her as Elizabeth will? As Mary travels down the roads leading to her cousin, I picture her contemplating what is happening inside of her. All the changes she must have experienced both physically and spiritually, and I imagine her singing this song to God along the way.
As you ponder and prepare in the coming days leading to Christmas reflect on how Mary’s encounter with God simulates our relationship with God. Remember what God has already done throughout history and how our encounter with God is filled with Grace. Grace that holds us in the palm of his hand and invites us to birth Christ to all of God’s people longing for Him this Christmas. Thank you for subscribing to my blog through emails. Be assured of my prayers and best wishes for you, your family and your mission in Christ during this Christmas Season. May your “yes” to God envelope those you encounter with love and be the blessings they need.