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By Tiffani Hoover
By Tiffani Hoover
God had just called Mary to the incredible task of bearing the Messiah and living out her days marked by controversy. When Mary said “yes” to God, she answered His call with all the unknowns and obstacles that would also come. But in His goodness and wisdom, God prepared a sojourner for Mary: her older cousin, Elizabeth.
Strong, faithful, tender-hearted Elizabeth welcomed Mary with rejoicing and encouragement. The older, who had waited her whole life to become a mother, to whom disappointment was familiar company, and to whom stigma and shame had taunted for long years, welcomed her young, unmarried, pregnant cousin.
I love the strength and confidence the Lord gave Elizabeth – in who He was and how He was working, not in anything she had done. It allowed her to delight in God’s kindness toward both herself and Mary, though shown in different ways and unequal measure. Elizabeth did not fall prey to jealousy or entitlement, but chose to rejoice in the Lord and celebrate with and for Mary.
Elizabeth and Mary’s humility and vulnerability allowed them to minister to each other, and be ministered to. Neither withheld encouragement, companionship, nor their ability to listen and relate. And so the cousins were mutually strengthened, affirmed, and supported.
Since God is the giver of all good gifts (James 1:17), we can rest in who we are because of Who He is. When others receive or excel, we can joyfully celebrate with them. And we can confidently offer to Him and those around us what we have indeed been given, whether extraordinary or simple or common. Let’s choose to rejoice with others this season, even in their undeserved favor, for we have all been shown great mercy! And let’s choose to gladly offer even the simplest gifts we have to offer, as the Lord has wisely equipped us with.