The visit of Mary to Elizabeth is a great story and the eagerness of Mary holds some wonderful concepts about the nature of faith and mercy and promises fulfilled. In the lead up to Christmas we see faith in action. We see the faithful God keep faith, and we see ourselves summoned to faith. Christmas time has always been a time of eagerness. So eager we start the celebration before Thanksgiving.
The Christmas lead up should give us an eagerness to face the corning of Christ. One of the first professors I had at Seminary was a fine gentleman by the name of George Bornemann. I don not know if he is still alive but this is an outline that he wrote for Luke 1:39-45. His take on Mary’s eagerness to go and see Elizabeth is fascinating.
A. Was Mary’s eagerness to see if the angel’s words (Luke 1:36) were true? Can miracles happen, even at Christmas? That possibility was questioned by Zacharias (Luke 1: 18). Mary accepted the fact before her visit. Her faith increased her eagerness. “I believe; help me when my
faith falls short.” B. Was Mary’s eagerness to serve Elizabeth? Mary was eager to
serve; consider Cana. She wanted to be the Lord’s servant (Luke 1:38). Was she the
first Christian nurse? Faith in action wants to serve God and neighbor. “Faith
without works is dead.” e. Was Mary’s eagerness to speak about the coming Christ?
Her soul would magnify the Lord, her spirit would rejoice in the Savior. She
accepted Elizabeth’s greetings (Luke 1:48). Faith wants to share the Good News. “I
believed; therefore have I spoken.”
There was eagerness and joy.
I. With joy we face the coming of Christ A. Was
Elizabeth’s joy caused by the stirring of the child? Is this coming holiday merely a
children’s festival? God gives life (Job 10:8-12). Faith sees the gift of a child.
B. Was the joy caused by the sound of Mary’s greeting? If by the Spirit’s
inspiration she knew that Mary was the “mother of my Lord,” did the words “The Lord
be with you” or “Peace be with you” have a greater effect? The very incarnation and
presence of the Lord causes faith to respond with joy. Was the joy caused by the
Spirit present in Elizabeth? The fruit of the Spirit is joy. The Spirit being what
He is brings good news. The Spirit moves us to receive and accept and also to
respond in faith. III. With faith we face the coming of the Christ A. Did Mary have
faith and never doubt, as did Zechariah (Luke 1:18)? “How will I know?” “How can
this be?”‘ (Luke 1:34). God does things beyond our understanding (Job 9: 10). Pity
poor Zechariah who lived with Mary and Elizabeth for three months, after Elizabeth
said to Mary (and probably in his presence), “Blessed are those who believe.” Thomas
would believe, if …. Doubt brings sorrow, regret, despair. B. Faith gets an
answer, the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb.
11). God’s promises are fulfilled (Luke 1:45). God’s words are not idle dreams nor
fantasies, but truth. We approach Christmas to stand at the manger with eagerness,
with joy, and with faith, ready to serve. Now we believe; then we shall see face to