Having grown up in the church and read the Gospels many times over, I'm quite familiar with the details of this narrative. But because it is God's word, of course-- because the Spirit makes it living and active-- it comes into my heart differently every time around.
Today I especially noticed the sense of preparation throughout the chapter. Everyone is busy getting ready. Every single event lines up and links together for the unfolding of this great Providence.
- Gabriel's announcement prepares Zechariah and Elizabeth for John's birth.
- John is destined to prepare a people for God.
- Another visit from Gabriel prepares Mary for her own child, and she herself prepares her heart to bear the Son of God.
- The two women prepare together for their babies' arrival, a pair of arrivals that will change the world forever.And what I thought today, as I read, was that God is always doing this. Always weaving the world into His plan, either fulfilling His promises, or directly preparing to do so. Though we do not see this pattern fully, we can have absolute faith that it exists and that each moment of our lives is used in it. Nothing hangs free of His order.
As Elizabeth told her young cousin, "Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord."