“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42 NRSV)
I find it amazing that Elizabeth was able to see that Mary had been blessed. Now, scripture tells us that before she spoke, she was filled with the Holy Spirit, but one has to be open to Spirit. How many people are intent on looking for the blessing of God in others? I think this passage shows the depth of Elizabeth’s faith. She, too, had been blessed by God by conceiving at an old age, and at the time of Mary’s arrival she was six months pregnant. Perhaps since she was basking in the glow of her own blessing, she was more receptive to noticing the blessing of God in others.
Elizabeth provides an example of faith that we should all strive toward. We are to be a people, who not only rejoice in our blessings, but notice God’s work in the lives of others. This must have meant so much to Mary. I don’t imagine there was a plethora of people who believed her account of what had happened, in fact, I find it unlikely that anyone did. Yet, here Mary is believed without a doubt. Elizabeth provided an encouragement that Mary needed.
How many of us have experienced a call upon our lives and immediately been discouraged because those around us did not believe us or recognize the call and work of God on our lives? I think of the multitudes of women who are called to preach and face a barrage of opposition. God tells us to preach the Word, and instead of recognizing the call on our lives, we face doubt and the refusal by some to notice the blessing of God bestowed upon us. We seek to bring forth the fruit that is seeded in us in the form of the proclamation of God’s word, yet are at times denied the opportunity to do so. Instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to fill them and recognize God’s blessing on our lives, some will instead accuse us of being those who malign the Word of God. May we all seek to be more like Elizabeth, a woman of faith, filled with the Holy Spirit, who seeks to see the blessing of God in those around her. This result in affirming and encouraging those who have said ‘yes’ to God.