December 13, 2017
By Diann Bailey.
Scripture: Luke 1:39-40 (NRSV)
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.
Though the angel told Mary to not be afraid, how could she not be? Imagine the questions that were swirling around in her head. “How can this be?” “Who will believe me?” “What shall I do?”
She knew at once, that she must talk with Elizabeth, an older and wiser friend and cousin. She knew that Elizabeth would welcome her in, care for her and listen to her story. Mary could confide in Elizabeth and would not be judged.
Upon Mary’s arrival, Elizabeth, also pregnant under difficult-to-explain circumstances, understood immediately. “For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy” (v.44). Elizabeth knew exactly what Mary needed. When Mary left, three months later, I am certain she was stronger, more confident and filled with joy; ready to face what was ahead of her.
A few years ago, my back went into a muscular spasm. It was sudden and severe. I was home alone, my spouse was out of town and I could barely move. I was afraid and all alone. I called my friend, Denise and asked her what she was doing. She enthusiastically exclaimed, “It is a snow day. School is cancelled!” but then realized the tone of my voice and asked, “What do you need?” Tearfully, I told her that I needed help—not an easy thing for me to request. She gathered up things I might need and came immediately. She helped me to dress and made a sickbed, where everything I needed was within reach. She calmed my fears, wiped my tears and soothed my soul. Denise was my Elizabeth; a healing balm during a time of deepest need.
In times of trial and tribulation, there is nothing better than a trusted friend; a friend who knows and loves you, no matter what the circumstance.
During this third week of Advent, look for the joy-filled relationships in your life. Who is your Elizabeth? Who knows you like no other? Who can
you call during your most difficult moments? Pray about it. Ponder it in your heart. Call that person today and tell them how blessed you are to have them in your life.
O God, we are grateful for friends who know us so deeply and care for us in times of trouble; friends who bring us great joy. May we be such a friend in return. Amen
Rev. Diann Bailey is the associate pastor at the First Church of Christ, UCC, in Suffield.
December 13, 2017