Friday 19th October
You are Blessed! - Luke 1:39-45
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her!

The encounter between Mary and Elizabeth is another of those tangible moments when the imminence of Christ's coming into the world was revealed. Until this moment, Mary had only the words of the angel to convince her, but she had been offered a sign, the sight of an elderly relative in the latter stages of her own pregnancy to confirm the message she had been given.

Mary chose to seek out that sign; to journey into the hill country driven only by her own sense of obedience and inner conviction. But the fruit of her determination was to hear the words of greeting and affirmation confirming the truth of God's promise. There is nothing in the preceding narrative to suggest that Elisabeth was ever told that one of her younger relatives would be the mother of the Christ child. Her declaration of this reality was the outcome of the Spirit's anointing.

The circumstances that these two women faced were far from easy; the road ahead was fraught with uncertainty, pain and challenge. Yet Elizabeth's refrain is one of repeated blessing, not because of their immediate situation, but the overarching message of hope that it represented.

As Advent people we dare to believe that we too are blessed and we defiantly declare God's blessing in the face of every human circumstance. Our hope is founded not on any self interest being served or easy option found, but because we believe that God's salvation is wrought through faith, obedience and trust. Whether it is obvious in the here and now or virtually impossible to comprehend, we are and we remain blessed through God's fulfilled promise of salvation.

Faithful God, may I walk the pathways of humble obedience, confident that your blessing remains, whatever the journey might entail. AMEN

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