They rejoiced with her. (Luke 1:58)
Who are the “Elizabeths” in your life? Who do you know that is hurting right now? Or feeling lonely or forgotten? There are so many in the world. It could even be a member of your family or an old friend.
In today’s Gospel, we hear about a hard-won, jubilant moment in Elizabeth’s life: the birth of her son, John. She and Zechariah had been looking forward to this momentous event for years. Elizabeth, advanced in age, had been barren, which many people back then took as a sign of God’s displeasure.
Try to imagine the anticipation that spread in Elizabeth’s village once the news of her pregnancy broke—coupled with Zechariah’s story of an angelic messenger and his mysterious muteness. Then imagine how great the celebration must have been when she had a safe delivery. Finally, God had shown “great mercy” toward her and her husband (Luke 1:58)!
We are two days away from Christmas, and as joyful as this is, there are surely people around you in difficult situations, “Elizabeths” who are still waiting for God’s mercy. Maybe there’s someone whom the Lord would like you to “watch and wait” with—or, as Pope Francis would say, “accompany.”
Does someone come to mind? A friend? A family member? A neighbor? Or how about the homeless man you pass on your daily commute or the co-worker who suddenly seems withdrawn? Then there are the millions of refugees who will be away from their families and homes this Christmas, the victims of war and famine, even the people in your own town who are living without adequate food, clothing, or shelter.
Take a few minutes, and make a list of these “Elizabeths.” Watch and wait with them. If you can’t be physically present to them, accompany them by asking God to show them his mercy. Then, when you see their prayers being answered, celebrate—just as Zechariah and Elizabeth’s neighbors did.
“Holy Spirit, show me who could use a little extra prayer and attention. Come and pour your mercy on every ‘Elizabeth’ this Christmas!”