There are many brave girls and young women in the world; girls and women who are strong, and who do what they think is right, even when others are afraid to. Many women and girls have stood up for other people, and taken on challenges, because it is the right thing to do.
This Sunday Lindsay Crouse will read the story of Mary and her relative Elizabeth. Mary was a brave but poor young woman who became the mother of Jesus. She was visited by an angel who told her that she would become the mother of Jesus, and that she should not be afraid. And the angel told her to visit her older relative Elizabeth, who was also going to have a baby.
Here is the story:
Mary lived in the village of Nazareth and was engaged to marry a man named Joseph. God sent the angel Gabriel to her and said, “Greetings! The Lord has blessed you and is with you.”
Mary was very confused by what the angel said. Mary wondered, “What does this mean?”
“Don’t be afraid, Mary” said the angel. “because God is pleased with you. Listen! You will become pregnant. You will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and people will call him the Son of the Most High. … His kingdom will never end.”
Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen?”
The angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you. The baby will be holy. He will be called the Son of God. Now listen! Your relative, Elizabeth, is very old, and is pregnant with a son. Everyone thought she could not have a baby, but she has been pregnant for six months. God can do everything!”
Mary said, “I am God’s servant.. Let this happen to me as you say!” Then the angel went away.
Soon after that, Mary got up and went quickly to a town in the mountains of Judea – She went to Zechariah and Elizabeth’s house. She greeted Elizabeth with a hug; when Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the unborn baby inside Elizabeth jumped. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and Elizabeth cried out in a loud voice, “God has blessed you more than any other woman. And God has blessed the baby which you will give birth to. You are the mother of my Lord, and you have come to me! Why has something so good happened to me? When I heard your voice, the baby inside me jumped with joy.
You are blessed because you believed what the Lord said to you would really happen.”
Then Mary said: “My soul praises God; my heart is happy because God is my Savior. I am not important, but God has shown his care for me, his servant girl.
From now on, all people will say that I am blessed, because the Powerful One has done great things for me. His name is holy. God will always give mercy to those who worship him. God’s arm is strong. He scatters the people who are proud and think great things about themselves. God fills the hungry with good things, but he sends the rich away with nothing. God has helped his people Israel who serve him. He gave them his mercy. God has done what he promised to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his children forever.”
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home to Nazareth. (Adapted from: Luke 1: 26-56, International Children’s Bible)
Mary was visited by an angel who told her that she would become the mother of Jesus, and that she should not be afraid. But she was young, and poor and needed to talk to another older woman who she respected. And the angel told her to visit her older Cousin Elizabeth, who was also going to have a baby. Here is a picture of Mary greeting Elizabeth, for you to color when you want some quiet time.
Mary walked a long way to visit her cousin Elizabeth, to help her and to get Elizabeth’s good advice. The two women knew that it took babies nine months to be born. And so Mary stayed with Elizabeth for 6 months before she returned to Nazareth.
Who in your family would you talk to if you were not sure what to do?? Would it be your mother or father? Your grandparents, or maybe an aunt or uncle? A cousin or a neighbor who you trust?
This is a time of year when we often gather with our families and share gifts and stories. When you are spending time with your family this Christmas, with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, make sure to listen to their stories. Ask them to share a favorite song or book with you. Ask them what Christmas was like when they were growing up. Mary learned from Elizabeth, and there is so much we can learn from the people we love and trust.
May God give you time to listen and learn throughout this Christmas season and in the coming year.
You are blessed to be a blessing to others,