Luke 1:46-47, 49: “And Mary said: ‘My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for the Mighty One has done great things for me— holy is his name.’”

In a society where pregnancy out of wedlock prompted the death penalty, a pregnant, unwed teenager was bad news. Conceiving and raising the Son of God – what a great honor, and yet – what a daunting task! When Mary heard that her aunt Elizabeth was also expecting a child, she set off to visit her. The trip was a 70-mile walk, which must have kept her on the road for several days.

The reception was warm and heartfelt. Here they were – two expectant mothers standing in the doorway weeping with joy as they embraced each other. In her first trimester, Mary could not have been obviously pregnant, so her aunt’s instant awareness of her condition was truly inspired.

Elizabeth herself was no stranger to a miracle pregnancy. She had been past her childbearing years when angel Gabriel announced that she would have a son. Her husband Zachariah, unfortunately, doubted the messenger, and as a result found himself grounded by God. His ability to speak was taken away from him for an undisclosed time period.

Zachariah’s forced silence actually may have been a blessing for Mary. If he had trouble believing Angel Gabriel, it’s also possible that he would have raised some serious doubts about her mysterious pregnancy. Had he been able to talk, Mary’s visit could have gone very differently – at least that’s what I imagine – but since he was unable to speak, Zachariah had to take the back seat in the family for a while. A silent witness of incredible things unfolding before his eyes, the words of Psalm 46 could have gone through his head (Psalm 46:10):

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.’”

Reportedly, it was Mary’s habit to stand back and listen with her heart. Pondering about the things she picked up on probably gave her some remarkable insight and wisdom. Taking note of the good things happening around us has a great side effect: we cultivate gratefulness.

Rushing through life, we gain nothing worth mentioning; even miracles could potentially go unnoticed. Let’s find the time to be still today. Lifting up the Lord, we will be uplifted.