“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” or so says Andy Williams in his 1963 hit from The Andy Williams Christmas Album. This year desperately needs a “wonderful time.”
I have witnessed a broad spectrum of reactions to the holiday season in 2020. Some are working harder than usual to enjoy Christmas this year. Others find it depressing to have to navigate (or violate) governmental restrictions. Still others are finding a deeper meaning to the season specifically because of the restrictions. Just last week, I tweeted how badly I want to attend a Christmas cantata. I miss that.
And why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? – Luke 1:43, BSB
Young Mary had traveled to see her cousin Elisabeth.
– Elisabeth, the wife of Zachariah the priest.
– Elisabeth, the elderly barren woman.
– Elisabeth, bearing the stigma of childlessness.
There are those among you who know the pain of a barren womb. Elisabeth knew the added burden of the whispers behind her back as the community tried to uncover what hidden sin kept her from bearing children.
After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.” – Luke 1:24-25, ESV
It was six months into Elizabeth’s pregnancy that Mary visited her. Rather than react with jealousy or bitterness, Elisabeth gushed with blessing for her young cousin.
And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” – Luke 1:14-12, ESV
Only then, only after pronouncing the blessing over Mary did Elisabeth ask the question, “Why is it granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”
Even in a year as bizarre as 2020, with lock-downs and restrictions, the Christ-child comes. And every one of us can echo Elisabeth’s question, “Who am I that the Christ-child should come for me?” The answer is, “You are the beloved of Yahweh.” Rest in that truth.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. – John 3:26-17, ESV