Today's Devotional Thought
December 18, 2018 by Rachel Piferi
One of the things that grabs my heart most in the Christmas story is how God provides the reassurance and encouragement that Mary and Joseph needed to walk in what God was calling them to. God sends an angel to Joseph to calm his fears and give him direction. And in addition to sending an angel to Mary, God also sends her to get encouragement and from her sweet relative and friend, Elizabeth.
God knew Mary was going to need a safe place to land as she wrapped her mind around the task assigned her. And God knew she was going to need a woman also walking in her own impossible task. There's nothing sweeter than spending time with a friend when you are smack dab in the middle of an impossible situation. And both women likely received so much from the months they spent together.
If we look at the second chapter of Luke, we see that Mary hurried to see Elizabeth after the angel gives her the news that she is pregnant with the Savior. We know that this would have been a trip of about 80-100 miles to visit Elizabeth and would have taken about a week or more to get there. So, of all of the people that she could have turned to in this time, why did Mary turn to Elizabeth? What about her parents? Was there no one in her town who she could have turned to?
We are not told anything about Mary's parents in this story. Were they alive? Were they accepting of this news? Did they reject her? We don't know. What we do know is that Mary left quickly to visit Elizabeth when she heard the news of the child growing inside of her. And, we know that she stayed with Elizabeth for about three months.
I can only imagine the conversations that these women must have had over the course of those three months. We know that Elizabeth greeted Mary instantly with love and respect and showed great understanding for what was transpiring. Mary must have felt such warmth and love and acceptance from Elizabeth. And both women knew what it was like to experience a miracle from God. Both women had conceived when science and logic would have told them it was impossible. But, as the angel said in Luke 2, "Nothing is impossible with God."
I think it is important to note that the Angel is the one who told Mary that Elizabeth was also pregnant. In some ways, it seems as if the Lord was showing Mary who she should turn to. The Lord knew who would be best for Mary. And, it was someone who also was experiencing an amazing gift from the Lord. Someone who could support her and strengthen her as she accepted her role as the mother of the Savior. Someone who could be that safe place to go process the news of her pregnancy and to gain strength and love from.
Isn't it amazing that the Lord sends people to us when we need them the most? When David needed a friend, the Lord sent Jonathan. When Naomi needed a friend, the Lord gave her Ruth. God is so loving that He gives us people to love us through our most challenging times. And, nothing could be more challenging than being an unmarried teenaged girl who has just been told that she has been chosen to be the mother of the Messiah. When Mary needed a friend and a safe haven, the Lord provided Elizabeth.
This Christmas season, I urge you to ask God who you can be an Elizabeth for. Who may need a safe place to land while they walk through a challenging or impossible situation? Who may need an empathetic, love filled person to just help them process life with? It is tempting to read this story from the perspective of needing a friend to run to, but I encourage you to think about it in terms of who you can be that friend for. A friend that someone would come 100 miles to see because she knows when she gets there that love and understanding and believing will be waiting.