4th Sunday of Advent 

(Luke 1:39-44)

Rising sun LIElizabeth and Zechariah had prayed for many years for the gift of a child. ‘Out of the Blue’ their prayers were answered. God’s timing is not always convenient for us! Mary had vowed herself to a life of   virginity. God asks her to give flesh to God’s Son. God’s plans for us don’t always correspond to our own plans!

Both women seem to have had a wonderful understanding of what God was doing and generously respond to the prompting of the Spirit of God. Mary goes immediately into the ‘hillside’ to minister to her older cousin in a time of need and Elizabeth is open to receive this help. By giving and receiving they enable the proclamation of God’s Word become flesh. 

This meeting of Mary and Elizabeth ranks as one of the great encounters of the history of Salvation; as they encounter each other they bring together  for the first time John the Baptist and the one he would proclaim, Jesus, the Christ. John leapt with joy in his  mother’s womb at recognising the presence of the Messiah. Thirty years later he would again ‘leap with joy’ wen he recognised Jesus walking  by the River Jordan. His immediate reaction would be to proclaim Him as the Lamb of God. The people had gathered to hear John preach and receive his baptism. He suddenly and deliberately diverts their attention to Jesus and from that moment he fades into the background.

As the Gospel says, John “was not the light, only a witness to speak for the light.” This is beautifully illustrated for us by nature in the northern hemisphere when we celebrate the birthday of John the Baptist near the summer solstice when the light begins to decrease. We celebrate the birth of Jesus near the winter solstice when the light begins to increase again. Making a way for the Lord can mean letting His light shine. Are we ready to push aside, whatever in our lives and our world is blocking the Light from shining brightly?