For the 4 Sundays of Advent this year, I’m focusing on Luke chapter one up until Mary’s Song. The first week, we looked at Zechariah. Last week, Mary. This week, Elizabeth. And we’ll conclude our Advent reflections with Mary’s Song.
Elizabeth: From Shame to Blessing
Read: Luke 1: 39 – 45
In our first reflection, we encountered Zechariah, a cynical old priest too broken to believe. In our second reflection, we met Mary, a young girl daring to believe in her own honour and dignity. This week we look and see Elizabeth.
Elizabeth wasn’t used to being seen. She lived her life in the shadows of disappointment and guilt. If only she had borne Zechariah a child. If only she could lift his crushing shame.
Imagine her amazement when her mute husband conveyed the promise, asked her to take him into herself with a faith that she had not seen in Zechariah for years. Did she lay back, day-dreaming of their younger years? Did she have hope? Did she believe?
We have no glimpse into this old woman’s soul …. that is until Mary comes to visit. And all of a sudden, Elizabeth bursts forth. She is bold, she is loud, she prophesies, and she declares. No longer is it the woman that carries the blame and the shame – now it is the women who are blessed! The old order has been flipped on its head. New life springs up, leaping with joy!
Elizabeth has been transformed. So much more than pregnancy glow, Elizabeth emerges an elder with wisdom to share. She takes into herself the old and the new, the both/and, and declares blessing: “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
In what ways does misplaced blame and shame still pull you into the shadows? How can you be open to the gift of newness that will call forth your wisdom – and where would God have you declare blessing?
God, draw us out of the shadows into your brilliant light. Stir up in us all the wisdom you have been cultivating. And may we extend blessing in our believing. Amen.