There is nothing about the Nativity story that I don’t love, but as a woman, it’s hard not to be moved in a special way by the stories of Elisabeth and Mary. To me, their stories underscore something I feel very strongly in my heart — that women are so important to God and His plan. I love how these two cousins had their lives and missions intertwine in such a remarkable way. They are such examples of faith. They had both anxiously awaited the Messiah, and willingly did their part in helping bring His mission to pass…as the mothers (respectively) of the forerunner, John the Baptist, and of the Savior Himself.
I love how their stories show that we worship a God of miracles. Their stories testify of angels and revelation from God, and that God knows us personally, by name. They reinforce the truth of the reality of life and existence before birth. They teach us of the importance of marriage and motherhood and family. Their stories also gently remind us that God’s timing and will may not always match our own, but that if we are willing, we can be instruments in His hands to help Him do His work.
And along with all the wonderful lessons their stories teach, I also try to remember them as humans, women with bodies susceptible to all the weakness and weariness of mortality. Pregnancy was a hard, demanding process then, too. (Imagine that process later in life as Elisabeth experienced it!) I try to imagine riding an animal for long distances right before giving birth, too, and giving birth in less-than-ideal (to say the least) circumstances. (I love the thoughts Mormon Soprano shares on this topic in her post, “Mary Went the Distance“)
The following video, in my mind, combines both the wonder of their stories and their humanness in a lovely way. I can only imagine how overwhelming it must have been to have all of these things happening, and to be sharing such sacred and challenging experiences together. Along with their expressions of faith come also evidences of humanness…see how tired Elisabeth appears, and sense how awestruck Mary sounds. This video helps me imagine some of what they must have felt, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. I sense a deep gratitude and wonder, even some shock, perhaps. Imagine what it must have been like to play such key roles in the fulfillment of ancient prophecies that they had treasured, studied, anticipated. I also imagine they were needing each other’s support and encouragement as they embarked on their respective missions to raise these sons to and for God.
I’m so grateful for the examples of faith that Mary and Elisabeth left for us. Our individual missions will most likely not be as known to the world, but they — and we — are each known to God. I believe each of us has our own work to do, and most of it, like with Mary and Elisabeth, will be within our own families. I think Mary and Elisabeth are examples of how we can respond when God calls to us in our own lives. Because He will. He does.