Bring the Christmas Message Home (Fourth Advent)

Mary didn’t waste a minute. She got up and travelled to a town in Judah in the hill country, straight to Zachariah’s house, and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby in her womb leaped. She was filled with the Holy Spirit, and sang out exuberantly, “You’re so blessed among women, and the babe in your womb, also blessed …”  (Luke 1: 39 – 42)

This weekend usually is one of the busiest travel times of the year. Airports, bus terminals, train stations, and, of course, highways will be filled with people laden down with gifts, all trying to make it home for the holidays. Home with their loved ones is where people want to be, if at all possible. And so they are willing to withstand all sorts of incredible trials and tribulations to get to where they want to go. If some breakdown and accidents are in the mix, it is guaranteed to snarl everything. But year after year people do it.

Scripture tells us little of Mary’s journey to her cousin Elizabeth home. We are given only vague details telling us that it is somewhere in the hill country and that Mary hurries there because of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. It probably was a gruelling trip for her to make. But Mary does it willingly to be where she is needed. And when her own pregnancy nears completion, she will take another difficult journey, this time to Bethlehem to fulfill the words of the prophets.

Mary, this “Christ-bearer,” is bringing to Elizabeth the presence of the messiah for the first time. And it has a dramatic effect on her and on the baby John in her womb. Neither would ever be the same again.

With Christmas only days away, we are challenged to bring that very same presence to all whom we will touch this Christmas holiday season. Mary has become the embodiment of what we are called to be and do as Christians in our service to one another.