In one afternoon, her serene, predictable life disintegrated.

She hadn’t done anything wrong, but everyone would think she had. Even though her community knew her to be a sweet, kind girl, she would still be presumed guilty until proven innocent–not the other way around.

And this innocence wasn’t the type that she could prove. How do you say, “Yes, I know where babies come from, but not this baby. That’s not where he came from. He came from God!”?

The eyebrows of her community would be permanently raised. She might even be shunned.

Lord, please give me one friend who understands. One person who believes me. I imagine this is what Mary prayed. (It’s what I would be praying if I was the one presumed guilty by the whole world.)

And God gave her Elizabeth. Mary didn’t have to speak even one persuading word. All she did was walk through the doorway, and already Elizabeth was exclaiming, “Blessed is the fruit of your womb!”

Elizabeth knew Mary was expecting? And she knew that this pregnancy was not something to condemn, but an extraordinary blessing? No wonder Mary erupted in song!

Mary was able to spend three months with a cousin who not only believed her, but reveled with her in the wonder that God would use two ordinary women to bring about the plan he had been working out for centuries. I imagine that Mary looked back upon these months at Elizabeth’s house as the most pivotal, faith-building experience of her life.

Who can you be ‘an Elizabeth’ to, this Christmas? Do you know someone who is reeling from the disruption of a serene, predictable life? Perhaps they feel the heavy glare of the community. Or maybe their life’s course has just been severely altered. Perhaps the Lord has called them to a role which they feel less than confident about.

For five months, Elizabeth had secluded herself. I don’t think it’s coincidental that she was filled with the Holy Spirit when Mary arrived. May we be Elizabeth-type women–filled with the Spirit and ready to build up the faith of whomever may step through our front door.

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