Summary: Mary’s song re-orients our attention back to what is most important about Christmas. . The main thing is that the Lord God chose to do a wonderful thing by sending His Son. He is Mighty and Merciful, and we are so in need of His strength and mercy!
Why Christmas Is a Big Deal:
The Little Things Are the Big Things in Life!
Scripture Text: Luke 1.39-45
The whole atmosphere in sports-stadiums is something-to-behold! When my wife and I went to watch a professional football game, …people all-around-us were severely inebriated! ~ …They were hollering at the referees; …hollering at the players; …yelling at each-other! It was kinda-funny to watch their antics.
We used-to-go and watch the local professional baseball team play ~ …and I remember seeing one player make an amazing-catch at the warning-track; …and in-that-same-game, he hit a towering home-run that brought the fans to their feet.
But, the atmosphere in big-time sports-stadiums is really-something ~ …It’s almost as-though there’s an electricity that runs through the place as players-perform, …and cheerleaders cheer, …and the crowd chants and hollers. I-know that most-of-us know what I’m talkin’-about ~ …Just-during the last 3-or-4 months I’ve heard different-ones who’ve made a pilgrimage to area colleges and professional teams’ stadiums. We enjoy our teams and rooting-them to victory… Don’t we!?!
Well… I’m right-there with-ya! I lament the current-state of some of my teams.. But, I’m thrilled with how well others are doing. And…I’m really looking-forward to watching our-own high school team (on the court this season).
But… As-much-fun as sports-are ~ …there’s something that rings-hollow about it-all. It’s as-though we’re makin’ much-ado-about-nothing… Well… not-‘nothing’; …but-certainly not all that we make it out to be!
Scripture often-helps us to get a proper-perspective on things; …and if-there’s-ever-a-time that we need to be reminded-of what’s-most-important, …it’s Christmas-time!
I. The Reunion
We’ve kinda-been bouncing-around during the Sunday’s-of-Advent (and we haven’t followed a historical timeline); …so, it might-be-helpful to kinda-put things in order.
An angel appeared to Zechariah and told him that he-and-his-wife (Elizabeth) were gonna-have a bouncing-baby-boy. This boy was going to be the “fore-runner” of the Messiah. His name would-be John the Baptist, …and he would preach to the people a message of repentance, …as a way-of-preparing the people for the coming-Savior.
But, before John began-his-ministry ~ …in-fact, even-before John was-born ~ …the angel appeared to another-person. This-time, it was to a very-young-lady to tell her that she was going to give-birth to the long-awaited Messiah, …the Savior of the world. As-far-as their expected-arrival-time, …John was about 6 months ahead-of Jesus. So, when Mary goes-to-see Elizabeth, Mary may-not-even be-‘showing’, …but Elizabeth would be unmistakably-pregnant!
Luke wrote this gospel close-to 2,000 years-ago. And a lot-has-changed in time. One of the things that has changed is public-perception. For one-thing, we live in a day of amazing-medical-techniques and possibilities. And-so, it’s not-that-surprising for us to hear of a woman conceiving-a-child later-in-life. But, in-the-ancient-world, …this was almost-unheard-of! We all-know that infant-mortality was much higher, back-then. And the danger to a woman ‘well-advanced-in-years’ (to use her husband’s-terms), …well, it was a very-dangerous-position that Elizabeth found-herself-in! And-no-doubt, it would’ve-been the talk-of-the-town.
Then, there’s-Mary! In-our-day-and-time, …it’s no-longer that-surprising to hear of teen-age-pregnancies. While-it-may-not-be-the-norm, it’s-common-enough. But in New-Testament-days, such-a-thing would’ve-been absolutely-scandalous! And-while Luke doesn’t tell us the turmoil that Mary’s-fiancé (Joseph), …Luke doesn’t-tell-us all-that-he-goes-through, Matthew’s Gospel tells us that Joseph was-ready to break-off the engagement; …and there-may-have-been some-in-town that had threatened to stone Mary because of supposed-immorality.
So… when we read about Mary’s little-trip to see her relative, Elizabeth, …and-when we hear about their joy-at-seeing-one-another ~ …what we should-keep-in-mind is all-the-stuff that is swirling-around in-the-background: …each-is probably the target of community-gossip; …each has some-concern for personal-well-being (Elizabeth, because of her age; Mary, because of charges of immorality); …each has had their nice-comfortable, routine rudely-interrupted by the angel-of-God!
But, when Mary arrives at Elizabeth’s home, …and-when Elizabeth hears Mary’s voice calling-out-a-greeting, …the whispers and the gossip and the accusatory-tones that have flooded their lives, …it all-falls-silently away, …as these two-women - …pregnant with the instruments-of-God’s-plan to redeem-the-world – …these-two-women celebrate ~ …and they talk-about how blessed they are to be honored by God; and they rejoice-over God’s amazing-plan which included the privilege of carrying-these-two-babies that would change-the-spiritual-landscape of the entire-world!
And I suppose that as Mary looked-into Elizabeth’s-eyes, …and, as Elizabeth embraced the young-Mary, …I suppose that these two finally-felt-free ~ …free of the gossiping-whispers of other-people; …free of the mis-understandings and suspicions by neighbors; …free of the worries-and-anxieties that they may-have-been-tempted to allow-into-their-hearts. But, I suppose that they-also-felt-free to celebrate, …and-to rejoice in the amazing-things that God was doing ~ …and-the-fact that they played such a prominent-role in God’s-plans!
II. Elizabeth’s Song
When Elizabeth opens-her-mouth, …she is beside-herself! Luke only-gives her three-verses to express-her-song ~ …and in those-three-verses, …she speaks a blessing three times: “Blessed are you” ~ she says to Mary; “Blessed is the child you will bear” ~ she says about the Baby-Jesus; And-finally, “Blessed is she who has believed” ~ again, talking-about Mary.
Elizabeth does-nothing to draw attention to herself. You might-expect her to at-least wonder-aloud at the role-her yet-to-be-born-child will-play ~ (as the forerunner; the trail-blazer; the one that Isaiah-the-prophet had spoken-of). Isn’t it natural for expectant, and new-mothers, to talk about the fruit-of-their-wombs?... …and to-wonder-aloud, what this-child will-grow to be-like!?! ~