Her feet are blistered now. The walk has been long, and the days filled with both Fear and Wonder. She lays a gentle hand on her flat belly. The new Life within is yet too tiny to make His presence visible. Still, she feels the need to shield Him. Her womb aches in tenderness. Can the Messiah really be forming within her?
“You are crazy–imagining it all.” Fear shouts. “Even if the prophecies were true, why would the Holy One choose you?”
She raises her hands to cup painful, newly swollen breasts–the testimony of her fertile body. The angel was real, his message true. She cannot put words to the moment the Holy Spirit filled her with this life but it was as real as the gasping breath that chokes her as she remembers.
The road is deserted, full of dusk’s shadows. Fear whispers now. “Who will believe you? Joseph? No–he will be angry. Mother and Father? No, they will be shamed. The village will see. The stones will fly and destroy both you and that babe.”
The ancient words, sung in worship, whisper back:
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God;
for I shall again praise him, my help (Psalm 42:5 NRSV)
Not far now to the house of Elizabeth. What will she say to this wise and gentle woman, the one who has known the bitter tears of barrenness and is now wrinkled and heavy with child? The words of Hannah (2 Samuel 1-10 NRSV) ring in Mary’s memory and the shouts of Wonder and Joy overwhelm the mutterings of Fear. Her own song forms itself in her mouth. The words taste like Hope. A Hope, that is a sure and steadfast anchor for her soul, a Hope that comes from the holy of holies (Hebrews 6:19 NRSV) and has implanted itself in the depths of her being.
And now Elizabeth runs to greet her. Hands on each other’s bellies, they sing their songs of Blessing and Hope (Luke 1 NRSV). And Fear skulks off into the night.
Also find this post in Our Story Magazine.
Thoughts for Reflection
- What is the difference between optimism and Hope?
- To whom can you go for words of blessings when Fear shouts and the voice of Hope is hard to hear?
- Listen to Mary’s Song – The Magnificat. As you sit with it, can you hear the assurance of the sure and certain Hope God offers?