December 19, 2021 - Leaping with Joy - A Reflection on Luke 1:39-45

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

This is a meeting of two moms, and what an extraordinary meeting it is. One, very advanced in years; the other, barely a child. One, six months pregnant; the other, only just.  But what makes the meeting extraordinary is that both pregnancies are miraculous. Elizabeth conceives in her old age; Mary conceives by the Holy Spirit. And that fills both of them with joy.

But this isn’t only a meeting of moms. It is also a meeting of baby boys. They would be called John and Jesus, and both would become very famous. Now when baby John hears his mother Elizabeth greet Mary, he does a little leap in her womb. It’s almost like he’s so excited to meet Jesus he jumps for joy! How could he know this?

Well, I want you to recall the words of the Angel Gabriel to his father, Zechariah, when he told the man his wife would conceive and give birth to a son, and he should call him John. Gabriel said, “he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born” (Luke 1:15). And that little jump could also have been the Holy Spirit saying, “Hi!” to Jesus.

Now he isn’t the only one jumping with joy. Elizabeth is, too. And then she exclaims these words we are so familiar with: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” But listen to what she says next. “And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?” What humility. She is much older than the young girl who stands before her, but notice how she honors Mary, calling her the “mother of my Lord.”

Two, she knows the child Mary is carrying is God, and she acknowledges her unworthiness with her remark. “I should be the one who comes to you,” is the unspoken statement. But that’s the truth of our faith, isn’t it? We don’t go to God, but God comes to us. He seeks us. He finds us. He saves us. The entire salvation story is about God looking for man.

So, shouldn’t we leap for joy?