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.” – Luke 1:39-45
In the old cowboy movies I used to watch as a child, if someone got in trouble, one of the things they did was to skedaddle, “Get outta Dodge,” as it were. It was to put some distance between them and the locale of something that probably was wrong or even criminal. Even today people look for a getaway when things get too strained or impossible to handle. The streets are full of such people.
We don’t know how far Elizabeth’s home was from Mary’s, but it seemed to be of some distance. Did Mary choose to leave home because of her unexplainable pregnancy or did her family send her away to protect her from what the neighbors might say until such time as the situation could settle down and everyone could see where they were and what they needed to do next. Mary probably traveled with a group since it would be massively unsafe as well as unwise for a single woman to travel alone much further from home than the town well or market. At any rate, she appears at Elizabeth’s front door, seemingly catching Elizabeth by surprise but not the unborn infant Elizabeth was carrying.
It seems so natural for women to seek the company and wisdom of other women when things are topsy-turvy. So often the life experiences and choices that one has made can help another through what seems incomprehensible and chaotic. It must have been a great comfort for Elizabeth and Mary to have each other to talk to, to help and be helped, and to share both their pregnancies and the knowledge that God was working through them no matter what.
What does it feel like to know that God is working through us? When good comes from it, when it glorifies God and not just us, and when a pregnant thought becomes a project that benefits all.
The best part is that we don’t necessarily have to get out of town to make it happen. Advent is a new beginning and what better way to celebrate it than to find something or someone to support in any way necessary and follow through on it.