By Faith Ford

“Soon afterward Mary got ready and hurried off to a town in the hill country of Judea. She went into Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth.

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby moved within her. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and said in a loud voice,

“You are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” (Luke 1:39-42)

The young girl, Mary, has just had a visit from the Angel Gabriel who has told her she is to bear God’s son. Perplexed and puzzled she asked how this could possibly be. The Angel reminds her that her cousin Elizabeth is expecting a child in old age which was also part of God’s plan. He reassures her that everything is possible for God. And so Mary submits to God’s plan for her life and says ‘Yes” to Gabriel and ‘Yes’ to God.

Mary must have been left wondering how she was to tell her betrothed Joseph that she was pregnant with God’s child and how her family and neighbours were going to react. She must have been anxious and afraid. Would they cast her out? Who better to visit than Elizabeth her elderly relation who was also unexpectedly pregnant. Surely she would understand?

So Mary hastened to the hill country and went into the home of her cousin. Hearing Mary’s greeting Elizabeth’s child jumped in gladness in her womb. Jesus’ cousin, John the Baptist, must have been the first to recognise Jesus as King, the one for whom he was sent to prepare the way! Elizabeth was filled with God’s Spirit and didn’t need Mary to provide any explanation – she knew Mary carried the Son of God. This must have reassured Mary and placated any fears. In fact Mary’s relief and joy were such that from her heart she poured forth her song of praise to God that we know as the Magnificat.

Perhaps we should remember Mary’s reaction to God’s request; it is unlikely any of us will experience a calling so dramatic. However, we should be prepared to say a resounding ’Yes’ if God calls us to do something for Him, large or small, if His kingdom is to grow. In submitting to God’s plan we, too, shall be blessed.

Advent is the perfect time to spend time with God discerning His plans for our lives…