Day 19

Mary Visits Elizabeth

from the Advent 2017: Joy to the World reading plan

Luke 1:39-55, Genesis 25:21-26, John 4:24

BY Kaitlin Wernet

Scripture Reading: Luke 1:39-55, Genesis 25:21-26, John 4:24

Three years ago, my parents and I made a different type of Christmas list—the kind you don’t want to check twice. Instead of brimming with names of books, games, or clothing we hoped to receive as gifts, the list contained a few very strict non-negotiables. You see, Christmas would be smaller this year, mostly because it would be sadder.

It was our first true holiday without the fourth limb of our family tree, my little brother, who had passed away a few months before. He’d loved Christmas tree decorating and gingerbread house making more than any of us, and we’d all decided to keep the ornaments and memories of past Christmases in their boxes this season. We still wanted to celebrate the holiday, but decided to do it in our own way, which brought us to our non-negotiables list. We sat quietly as my mom, dad, and I took turns listing parties and traditions we’d save for another year—those that felt too unbearably painful.

My bedroom faced my brother’s, and all I could imagine was waking up on Christmas morning only to remember he wasn’t there. Graciously respecting my non-negotiable, we rented a cozy cabin nearby to sleep in on Christmas Eve. The morning came and left without stockings or parades, and we drove home later that night.

We walked inside our barely-decorated home, and while I was ready to usher in the 26th with relief, I noticed my mother rustling around the kitchen drawers and cabinets. She emerged with a lighter, sand, and paper bags and headed toward the door. I looked outside to see my mother, grieved and without her son, lining the neighborhood streets with candlelit luminaries.

While it’s never a guarantee that Christmas will be merry and bright, Christ’s birth lights our path to an eternal hope. Hope doesn’t just latch onto imperfect circumstances—it requires them. Mary was an unmarried virgin, yet she became pregnant. Elizabeth was of old age, yet she, too, became pregnant.

No matter how barren our lives feel, we, as God’s people, are expectant. The waiting season of Advent calls us to intensely believe not just in what has happened, but what is coming.

A child will be born, unto us.
Hope will be born, unto us.
Joy will be born, unto us.
Eternity will be born, unto us.

This passage depicting the interaction between these two women is one of my favorites, because I imagine them standing together, each with their own worries and questions, yet still beholding the same gleaming hope.

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill what he has spoken to her!”

– Luke 1:45

They believed, not as a result of receiving something or hoping for it, but of knowing Someone who was trustworthy.

We know Him too. Regardless of whether or not this season leaves you feeling grieved or joyful, barren or expectant, Christ’s birth intersects our circumstances with a steady, unwavering hope. May the belief in His spoken promises light our path. May our souls praise the greatness of the Lord, and may our spirits rejoice in God our Savior (Luke 1:39). Amen.


Post Comments (113)

113 thoughts on "Mary Visits Elizabeth"

  1. Jena says:

    For me this year felt pretty barren and it felt like i felt blow after blow. I am amazed at the study and the power of the Holy Spirit through it. Jesus knows how to heal our hearts and help walk us through the process of grieving and mourning. He knows i wasn’t ready to process this until this very moment. And i am filled with hope and that hope and that expectantcy for something greater even when i don’t see that. possibility is exactly the way He works. He is a way maker. A healer, a redeemer and i am so glad to call Him my savior, Lord, and Father!

  2. Jyndia Ruff says:

    This was easily the best possible devotional I could have turned to today. We lost our daughter at 6 months old last year just days after Christmas. I have been trying to put into words why my heart doesn’t feel “merry and bright” this season and Kaitlyn just did that for me. Hope is all i (and we as believers) have to cling to in these days of heartache and loss. I especially loved the line “Christ’s birth intersects our circumstances with a steady, unwavering hope. May the belief in His spoken promises light our path”

    1. Kirsten LaShure says:

      I can’t imagine what the pain is like. And I cannot imagine a healing process strong enough that would help you through this. I’m so glad you know our Savior because He is the ONLY possible hope through this time in your life. Even if it just doesn’t feel possible yet. Saying prayers for you and your family.

    2. Skye says:

      Dear Jyndia, may the God of peace be quietly, firmly strengthening you from within. May today be filled with His comforting presence.

  3. Kathleen says:

    I love thinking about how different Elizabeth’s response to Mary could have been – she could have been judgmental or cynical. But God helped Elizabeth recognize His movement in Mary’s life. May he help us recognize His movement quickly in each other’s lives too. Kaitlin, thank you so much for sharing with us today.

    1. Candy says:

      Kathleen- I love your prayer for us all, let it be so!! Merry Christmas!

  4. Hannah Nicholson says:

    Last Christmas was a hard one for me. My mother passed away November 10th. I was angry, bitter and was not in the Christmas spirit. So much hope has grown in me since then and this Christmas I am more expectant than I have ever been. The joy is back and I’m so thankful for a God that heals!

  5. CJ Avakian says:

    No matter how barren our lives feel we as gods people are expectant. I love that sooooooo much! So so so much

    1. Chelsey Ramaker says:

      CEEEEJ!! I think it’s amazing that I saw your comment. I love it too! We are expectant people! So good!

  6. Bailey says:

    Prayers for everyone facing heartache and struggles this Advent season!

    I am grateful having this devotional, sharing testimony with other followers of Jesus, and all the reminders to hold onto hope and His love ♡

  7. Julie Bagwell says:

    This devotion was incredible. I don’t know who Kaitlin Wernet is but I plan to find out! :- ) Incredible communication about Hope and Advent. Thank you !

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