Shortly after the visit of angel Gabriel, Mary “made haste,” “with little delay,” she “hurried.” She didn’t waste a minute and headed to see her cousin Elizabeth whom Gabriel told her about. Evidently, Mary hadn’t heard the news about Elizabeth. It makes sense since there were no phones, no internet and no twitter. But in Elizabeth, Mary now had someone she could talk to who would have a little understanding of her situation.
If I were Mary, I would have “made haste” too. Can you imagine breaking the news to your parents and to your fiancé? “A big angel named Gabriel visited me, and told me I was chosen by God to birth His son, and now I’m pregnant.” I’m sure the Holy Spirit was her advocate. But still, at best, it had to be uncomfortable.
Mary quickly got out of town and went to see the two people who might understand: Zacharias and Elizabeth. Of course, Zach is still mute… so a lot of encouragement he could provide! But Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and in a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is your child! What an honor it is to have the mother of my Lord come to see me! Why, as soon as your greeting reached my ears, the child within me jumped for joy! Oh, how happy is the woman who believes in God, for he does make his promises to her come true.”
Can you imagine getting out of your car after a long drive, doing a big stretch and suddenly your relative bursts out the door with a loud exclamation, “Blessed are you! You are pregnant with God’s Son and I know it!”
Don’t you know that was reassuring for Mary? Even though she fully believed and trusted God, her emotions were probably running extreme from overwhelming joy to moments of sheer fear? It was probably so comforting for Mary to have Elizabeth know and rejoice in her pregnancy even though she hadn’t even told her the news yet. That is God. He does the impossible. Mary’s response was equally Spirit filled: (my thoughts are in parenthesis)
“Mary responded, ‘Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed...”
(And we do.)
“‘…For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me…’”
(Mary has had time to think about the consequences of saying “yes, Lord”, but she still does not dwell on the cost. She trusts God and focuses on the future.)
“’He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him. His mighty arm has done tremendous things! He has scattered the proud and haughty ones. He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands. He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful. For he made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever.’”
(She knows God’s word, and it bursts forth from her in praise.)
After this exciting greeting, Mary stayed with Elizabeth and Zacharias for about three months. I’m sure it was a haven for Mary. It was a safe place of encouragement for the journey ahead.