Away From Home

And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.
Luke 1:56

“Surprised? If I woke up tomorrow morning with my head sown to the carpet, I wouldn’t be more surprised than I am right now.” – Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation.

Clark W. Griswold wants to have an old-fashioned family Christmas. So he invites his parents, his wife’s parents, his aunt and uncle, to join him, his wife and his two children for Christmas.

They are surprised when his cousin-in-law Eddie arrives in a run-down RV with his wife, two young children, and their dog Snots.

eddie-and-clarkLater, Clark and Eddie are enjoying a cup of eggnog in the living room when Eddie announces that they will be visiting the Griswold’s for a month! Clark nearly jokes on his eggnog.

While most people enjoy brief visits from family and friends – from a couple of hours to a day or two – most people are not open to having that visit last a month or more!

When Mary hears from the angel Gabriel that her relative Elizabeth is pregnant, she decides to visit her. Mary herself is newly pregnant but it is assumed she makes the trek from Nazareth to the little village outside of Jerusalem easily enough.

But why would Mary make this visit in the first place? And why did it last three months!

First, Mary is not officially married to Joseph yet. She is still in the betrothal stage that was intended to prove that they had not been intimate yet and Mary was still a virgin. Her pregnancy complicated that big time!

So it’s understandable that Mary wanted to get out of town for a while.

Second, Mary knew that Elizabeth was advanced in years and that this pregnancy would be tricky because of that. So, as her relative and going through pregnancy as well, she wants to help and maybe be helped.

Both Mary and Elizabeth’s pregnancies were miracles. Elizabeth was barren and beyond child-bearing years. Mary was a virgin and there was no human father. No one else could relate to what they were going through except each other.

Having family visit, especially at the holidays, can be a comforting thing because no one knows what you are going through to prepare for the holidays and all the stress that it can cause more than your own family.

When I would have my mom or dad stay with us during the holidays, they knew what my wife and I were going through because they themselves went through the same kind of stuff with their families through the years. It was a great comfort and help to have them with us, to encourage us and sympathize with us.

While I’m sure Mary went to Elizabeth to help her prepare to have her baby, I think she also was helped by Elizabeth to prepare for the birth of Jesus. Mary was going to have some pretty upset people waiting for her in Nazareth when she returned – especially since she’ll be three months pregnant and probably starting to “show.”

Most of all, she’s going to have to have a very hard conversation with Joseph, her betrothed. How was she going to tell him that she was pregnant and the baby wasn’t his?

The time Mary spent with Elizabeth must have helped her process this life-changing – and earth-changing – event that she was smack dab in the middle of.

They both knew that the babies they were carrying were unique and had a special mission. Ultimately, it wouldn’t matter what other people thought of them – that Elizabeth was too old and that Mary’s pregnancy was a scandal. God was in control and God had promised to bless them and sustain them through it all.

That’s a great comfort for us, as well. When we find ourselves in circumstances beyond our control, we just have to be faithful to God and lean on him for support. He has promised to always be with us and to pour out his blessings on us.

Leaning on God can take different forms for different people. I suggest participating in worship. Being with other people on the same journey as you and hearing God’s holy Word can be a powerful form of comfort.

Spend time with family. I mean deliberate time with them, not just in the same room watching the same TV show. Turn on some Christmas music and play a board game, or have a conversation while making cookies. Remember, you are on this journey with them as well. They are sharing this experience with you.

This journey that God has called you to be on will culminate in eternal paradise. But we’re not there yet. We are away from our true home, but we are not alone. God is with us and so are others on this journey.

©2016 True Men Ministries

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