Celebrate in the Doorway
We come to the fourth Sunday of Advent with eager anticipation knowing that Christmas is just around the corner. And after the splendor and excitement of angel visits and dreams, we come to a seemingly ordinary and mundane moment.
A newly pregnant Mary leaves Nazareth and goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth.
You might recall that Elizabeth is also miraculously pregnant. About six months before the angel appeared to Mary, an angel appeared to Elizabeth’s husband, Zechariah, while he was in the temple, to tell him that Elizabeth was going to get pregnant, even though they had never been able to have children and were now well past child-bearing years. Zechariah laughed at the angel, but sure enough Elizabeth got pregnant.
And then, the angel appeared to Mary telling her that she too was going to be miraculously pregnant, even though she had not yet had marital relations with her fiancé, Joseph.
It’s not hard to imagine the shock and confusion of both Elizabeth, pregnant in her old age and Mary, pregnant as an unmarried, young woman.
And it’s also not hard to imagine why Mary traveled with haste to her cousin Elizabeth’s house. Because if anyone was going to understand Mary’s experience, it was Elizabeth.
And immediately upon seeing Mary, before she even entered the house, the child inside Elizabeth’s womb leaps for joy. And Elizabeth declares, “Blessed are you among women…and blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” And then Mary begins her own song of praise.
This visit to Elizabeth’s house might seem rather ordinary and mundane, but this moment in the doorway is a moment of worship.
Standing in the doorway, these two women exchange stories and they each affirm God’s work in the other. And then genuine praise and worship erupt between them. Both Mary and Elizabeth find a way to sing God’s praise. Elizabeth worships by pronouncing her blessing on Mary’s fierce faith. And, in turn, Mary finds her own voice and bursts into a hope-filled song that soars with promise not only for the child she carries, but for the whole world.
Even if just for a moment in time, as Mary and Elizabeth stand in the doorway, they perceive the world as God perceives it and they can’t help but worship. Because they know something even greater is just around the corner.
And so, even as our anticipation grows for the familiar story of the birth of Jesus Christ, may we linger here in the doorway to behold what God is about to do.
Grace and Peace, Kimmy