Each year, God reveals more to me about this Christmas story – a new angle I hadn’t thought of, a new detail I notice for the first time and I wonder – what is He telling me through this? This year, I have been thinking a lot of Mary and Elizabeth and how they served as a support to one another. We can learn much from these ultimate mothers…
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
46 And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”
56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home. (Luke 1:39-56)
So what can we, as super cool and contemporary women, learn about friendship from these two women who lived over 2,000 years ago?
1. TRUST: Let’s face it – the angel revealed a rather absurd truth to Mary (at least by modern-day standards) and Mary, though she did ask how it could be so, simply accepted the truth and trusted God in His plan.
Friendship is best enjoyed when we trust our God and follow His teachings and we step out on faith and trust our friend. We might have been hurt by a friend in the past but if we allow that hurt to have a stronghold over future friendships that could bless us abundantly, we drink the poison we poured for our enemy.
2. PERSONAL SACRIFICE: Immediately, she ran to Elizabeth, a journey that would have taken her at least three days to walk the 80-100 miles from Nazareth.
Our God, marriage, and children always come first but to sustain a healthy friendship, effort must be made to foster the relationship. Sometimes that’s a daily check-in, sometimes a weekly, monthly, or every few weeks/months check-in but like any other relationship, friendships must be watered to bloom.
3. SHARE IN ONE ANOTHER’S JOY: Mary wanted to share this big news with her cousin (or thought to be her cousin) for Elizabeth had been barren and was with child and Mary was pregnant with our Savior. Both women carried significant men of the Bible – John the Baptist and Jesus.
Our friendships are deepened when we share our struggles AND our joys. When we love a friend, we rejoice in their joys as if they were our own.
4. ENCOURAGEMENT: As soon as Mary arrived, Elizabeth encouraged her and gave her hope (verses 42-45). This little bit of encouragement led Mary to extol Mary’s Song (verses 46-56). Perhaps she had been a little unsure before speaking to Elizabeth – wouldn’t you be if an angel had just told you you were going to birth the Savior of the world ? But when she was encouraged by Elizabeth, she was able to see the truth.
When we encourage a friend, it’s often the truth we need to hear against the lies we are often led to believe. Friends keep the truth of who we are front and center.
5. FRIENDS COME TO ONE ANOTHER’S AID: Mary stayed with Elizabeth and Zechariah for three months. Since Elizabeth was further along in her pregnancy than Mary, I’m guessing Mary eventually helped Elizabeth with daily chores which is a good thing because um…I remember not wanting to do anything towards the end of all three of my pregnancies. Kthanks.
A death in the family. Surgery. Illness. Our girlfriends are there to bring us meals, take our kids, and sometimes, force us out of bed each day and remind us how to walk. I once saw a quote that read “True friends lift our wings when we forget how to fly.”
All I can say to that is, yes.