BY TOM WESTERKAMP DEACON
…” Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb” … Luke 1:42
Luke describes an amazing meeting of two holy women. Mary and Elizabeth both had good reason to be a little confused about their pregnancies. Mary was a young teenager who had no relations with a man, yet she was able to accept the heavenly message from the angel about what God was asking her to do, despite her engagement to Joseph. Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist, even though she was considered barren, and was way past child-bearing age. These strong, impressive women consoled each other and bravely embraced their unknown future with grace. What an impact their sons would have on the world!
The story of the Visitation teaches us an important lesson: when we embrace Christ, we will be led to people, places, and situations that we never dreamed of. Like Mary and Elizabeth, we should not worry about whatever out-of-the-ordinary issues come our way, because we are in Christ, and Christ is in us. These two women showed us that it is possible to accept changes that impact our life’s journey, to be a servant, and to be open to saying “yes” when Christ asks.
Serving others is not simply performing tasks for those in need. Authentic ministers allow themselves to accept the grace of the Holy Spirit that fills us and the people we minister to. Such moments of grace support us, strengthen us, and help us to appreciate the many gifts that God provides to us.
A good thing to remind ourselves this week in light of the hustle, stress and distractions of the Christmas season, as we scurry from stores to parties to family gatherings. Take a brief moment of quiet to pray, to reflect on our blessings, and to listen for the voice of God. He is trying to connect with each of us in a profound and personal way.
As 2022 approaches, and we struggle coming up with a New Year’s resolution, we might consider being open to some form of volunteer organization or ministry work if we haven’t done that before. Maybe we can help when help is needed? Maybe we can be like Mary, who said to the angel Gabriel: “I am the handmaid of the Lord; may it be done to me according to your word.”
May God watch over you and your family, guide you, and keep you safe, just as He did for Elizabeth and Mary.