Song of Songs 2:8-14
The voice of my beloved!
Look, he comes,
leaping upon the mountains,
bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Look, there he stands
behind our wall,
gazing in at the windows,
looking through the lattice.
My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.
O my dove, in the clefts of the rock,
in the covert of the cliff,
let me see your face,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet,
and your face is lovely.
Psalm 33: 2-3, 11-12, 20-21
Praise the Lord with the lyre;
make melody to him with the harp of ten strings.
Sing to him a new song;
play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord,
the people whom he has chosen as his heritage.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
he is our help and shield.
Our heart is glad in him,
because we trust in his holy name.
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
Elizabeth was a woman who knew grief and hardship. Being advanced in years without having children, culturally she was assumed cursed by God. We may wonder what she felt through all those years. She was looked down upon and judged by her community, her own desires of motherhood were unfulfilled, and Zechariah, her husband, had no hope in God providing. This was a cross that Elizabeth must have carried for a long time. We can only imagine what it was like for her when she realized that she was past the point of being able to have children. While we don’t know what her relationship with God was like, we know that she was devote and righteous and kept the faith no matter what. Most likely, she had to come to a point where she would trust God and honor Him, even if her own dreams remained empty.
Then, in her words to Mary, we see the honor she gives to Mary for her faith. “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” Elizabeth recognizes that doubt and despair are easy, but faith is hard. So even though Mary was young and had not carried the cross of childlessness the way Elizabeth did, she was given an impossible word from the Lord that required faith in the goodness of God, the same way that Elizabeth had to lean on that truth of God. Elizabeth also, in humility, honors Mary as the mother of God. Most likely as well, Elizabeth had a sensitivity to the presence of God built through her commitment to the Lord through all those year of trial. We see that Elizabeth’s journey sanctified her faith in God, brought her into humility, and led her to experience being filled with the Holy Spirit. Not only did God provide Elizabeth with the desires of her heart and the redemption of her reputation, but He also gave her a deeper relationship with Himself.
The season of advent is about waiting. This is a time where we anticipate God appearing in our lives and prepare for His presence. For some of us, that waiting is hopeful and exciting because we trust the Lord and how He will care for us. But for others of us, as we wait, we may doubt. We may not be able to guess what it will look like when Jesus is near, and our circumstances may be so bleak that we are prone to despair. We may read the verse from Song of Songs about the rain being over and gone, and not believe it. Today, God is inviting us into waiting for Him, like Elizabeth, and actively believing in His word, like Mary. Not only will Jesus fulfill the longing in our hearts, but He will also draw us closer to Him in the process. Today, do not lose hope. Let God’s word renew your strength as you remember the goodness of the Father who loves you. Let yourself be blessed and filled through believing that God will fulfill His word to you.