Two Women Share a Secret Only They Can Understand
The beauty of this passage is that it conveys to us what we really have no right to hear—the exclamations of praise from two holy women concerning the most personal and intimate of miracles which any woman can experience, that being the conception and carrying of her child. A man knows nothing of this apart from a dry clinical description in a book. He knows nothing of that secret inward life-giving capacity that God has bestowed on the woman—and this is her glory.
So Mary travels to the hill country of Judea, some seventy or more miles, to visit her older relative, Elizabeth. The angel told her that Elizabeth was with child—she who was past child-bearing years, another “Sarah” in the making. No doubt, Mary ran off to see Elizabeth to confirm the angel’s words about her kinswoman—and herself. And if God could do this for Elizabeth, could he perform an even greater miracle for Mary? And God did not disappoint: “And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.’” Mary never had to say a word; God miraculously revealed the news of Mary’s virginal conception to Elizabeth by the Holy Spirit’s communication through John’s leap of joy. But what I love about Elizabeth is her humility before her more honored kinswoman: “And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me…And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” In other words, the elder Elizabeth bears no jealousy towards young Mary, she who had waited years bearing the reproach of a barren woman, while Mary was only now betrothed. No. Mary bears Elizabeth’s Savior—and Elizabeth rejoices for Mary’s honor and for her own salvation—and for her baby’s who shall prepare his way.
And Mary rejoices in the Lord over his choice of a girl of low estate. And this is the Lord’s way: “He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.” He has mercy on those who fear him. Most of all, Mary knows that it’s NOT about her: “He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and his offspring forever.” And this is why God chooses Marys and Elizabeths, Josephs and Zechariases: The humble understand that they are the Lord’s handmaids and servants. They are just as content when God chooses others before them; they know that it’s about the Lord.