By Becky Rokitowski
Pastor at Riviera UMC
Saint Petersburg, FL
Mary is visited by an angel and told she will give birth to an amazing child. While she is still wrestling with all the implications, and how this was all possible, she goes to visit her cousin Elizabeth who is also pregnant. When Elizabeth greets her at the door she is full of joy and excitement and speaks words of blessing upon Mary.
Mary’s response is to break out in praise of God’s faithfulness, recalling how God values humility, and has always provided… extending mercy from generation to generation.
I wonder, if on the way to Elizabeth’s house, Mary anticipated a very different reaction from Elizabeth. Did she expect to be lectured? Did she brace herself for the possibility of rejection? Did she wonder if she should try and keep her pregnancy a secret?
Imagine the emotions of relief and gratitude that Mary felt when Elizabeth embraced her and spoke words of blessing over her and her child. Elizabeth was saying to her “I know about the child, I love you, and everything is going to be okay.”
Each of us longs to be accepted. We have all fallen short. Mary recognized that she did not deserve the honor that God was giving her, nor the affection from Elizabeth, and yet she received them all the same. We each have the opportunity to accept the same undeserved gift of God’s love… AND we each have the opportunity to extend that gift to others. The gift of God’s mercy and grace, especially when it is shared with our family members, is the gift that keeps on giving, generation to generation.
Prayer: God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, I thank you today for your unfailing love. Forgive me for the times I have dealt harshly with others. Help me to see others and myself as you see us: both the brokenness and imperfections, and the tremendous value and worth we each bear. During this season of Advent, give me opportunities to extend your mercy to the next generation. Holy is your name, Amen.
1. If you had been in Mary’s shoes, unmarried and pregnant, what response would you expect to receive when arriving on the doorstep of your relative’s house?
2. How did the grace and mercy extended to Mary from Elizabeth mirror the love and mercy of God?
3. What are you doing to mentor the next generation? What role does humility play in this?