Third Sunday of Advent: Elizabeth's surprise visitor

  Shepherds Detail 11 © 2016 John August Swanson|  Eyekons

  Shepherds Detail 11 © 2016 John August Swanson|  Eyekons

Mary's pregnant but not showing.  Those who pause to think about Mary as she passes (and few do) sense only that she knows something she's not telling.

Why me? Elizabeth wonders when Mary turns up at her door.  She's taken aback but still willing to receive the mother of her Lord.

Who are you inviting in?  What burden does she bring?  How's your life about to change?  How come you aren't singing?

Sing for the day that isn't going as you planned.  Sing for the Advent of surprises.  Sing for disruptions and inconveniences.  Sing for God who wears unlikely disguises. 

{Rachel M. Srubas in "Rediscovering Advent}

Visitation by Moretto da Brescia

Visitation by Moretto da Brescia

Elizabeth greeted Mary as soon as she walked  in the house, and Elizabeth's baby, not yet born, seemed to know too that Mary was God's favored one.  Elizabeth was astounded that the mother of our Lord would visit her, and she felt her baby leap for joy at the sound of Mary's voice. She blessed Mary and praised her for her faith.  The two women had much to talk and laugh about.  They were delighted, they were grateful...and Mary sang a joyful song of thanksgiving for God's goodness.  {after Luke 1:40-45}

Visitation by Romare Bearden

Visitation by Romare Bearden

Where understanding is outraged
where human nature rebels,
where our piety keeps a nervous distance:
there, precisely there, God loves to be.
There he baffles the wisdom of the wise;
there he vexes our nature, our religious instincts.
There he wants to be, and no one can prevent him.

Only the humble believe him and rejoice
that God is so free and so grand,
that he works wonders where man loses heart,
that he makes splendid what is slight and lowly.

Indeed, this is the wonder of wonders,
that God loves the lowly.
"God has regarded the low state of his handmaiden."
God in lowliness--
that is the revolutionary, the passionate word of Advent. 
 {Dietrich Bonhoeffer}