Adapted from Luke 1:5-2:19
After a long walk from Nazareth with Daniel’s family, finally Elizabeth’s shaky soprano drifted over her wall, her words from a psalm of David Mary recognized. “You have made known to me the path of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.” The swish of her broom kept time to her song. She had waited so long, no wonder her joy.
Mary tapped at the gate with one hand. The other caressed the cotton tunic over her stomach. Would her elder cousin understand her confusion? “Elizabeth, it’s me.”
Elizabeth’s singing stopped. She opened the gate. Her silver hair escaped the veil that covered her wrinkled head and belied the obvious bump under her clothing.
“Mary!” Elizabeth’s hand flew to her own womb and her eyes bulged. “Our little John recognizes the mother of our Messiah, the tiny One you carry!” She hugged Mary and kissed her cheek.
“The angel said you’d understand God’s moving among us. … I only wanted to marry Joseph and raise a big family with my carpenter. And now … ”
“Have you told Joseph?”
“He didn’t call for the elders to stone me. He said, ‘We’ll just call it off.’
And I couldn’t … I came to you. The angel said I’m favored, but I feel … favored … and not favored, all at once.” She searched Elizabeth’s eyes for understanding.
And got it. “Dear girl, come in. You look pale. Tea and cakes will revive you. Gabriel spoke to Zechariah too, to tell him about John. You must have responded with faith. Zechariah questioned Gabriel and can’t speak now.” Elizabeth smiled, but then shook her head.
Mary accepted tea, and they relaxed in the courtyard. “Yes, suddenly Gabriel stood there in the room with me.
“He’s not a little fellow.
“I could barely manage to accept his assignment. There’s no evidence I should mother the Messiah. Why me, out of all the girls in Nazareth? Anyway, I asked him one question. How? I really am a virgin, Elizabeth.
”And yet, my womb warmed with life when God moved over me. I know Jesus grows inside me. I know, and yet I am … I don’t know how to do this.”
“Will my father disown me? My mother insisted I come to you because of what Gabriel said, but her skeptical look broke my heart. What will the townspeople say? I don’t want to return to Nazareth. I’m glad Gabriel told me about you. But … ”
Elizabeth cupped Mary’s arm. “Dear girl, you needn’t know how to do this. I know for certain our God guides us who live in faith. You need only put one foot in front of the other in the direction He leads.”
Tension left Mary in the light of Elizabeth’s words. “Could I stay with you for a while? Could you talk with me about Jesus and John? Please?”
“Of course, for as long as you need. A visit will shorten the time of my waiting.”
Mary stayed three months, gaining courage for what lay ahead and strengthening her faith. After she kissed Elizabeth goodbye, Mary looked to heaven and said, “The Lord has looked with favor on the humble estate of His servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me. Holy is His name.” And yet, in this generation, not everyone thinks me blessed. She took home with her all the wisdom Elizabeth had shared before it was time to bring John into the world.
I’m hosting a Christmas blog tour this month. Writing friends participate, and you’ll find nine blogs over the month, with everything from adaptations like this to ideas for Christmas movies and kindness. Look for the rest of this story the week of Christmas. I hope you enjoy the journey.