Full of Grace (April 14)

Happy Sunday and the beginning of the end for Game of Thrones (if you’re a fan). In today’s installment, Mary arrives at Elizabeth’s house, and receives a greeting unlike any other she’s gotten or expected.

You can go here to read previous entries. Follow my blog so you can get notification of new postings (see sidebar). Or the book is available for purchase if you prefer not to wait. Note: there are Hebrew words sprinkled through it. You can find a listing of them and their definitions here. The next post will be April 15.


 

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14 Iyar

Elizabeth wipes the sweat from her brow and looks down at the progress she has made. Her garden was small but big enough to provide for her and Zechariah.

And her son, she considers with a smile. She places her hand on her growing belly, barely able to contain the excitement welling up in her. In two months, she would be a mother!

Adonai, you are great,” she says and decides it’s time to go inside. Elizabeth rises slowly, resting her weight on her knees. She protectively wraps her hand around her midsection as she stands to her full height and stretches out her back. Then she waddles into the house and finds her way to her work table, where she washes her hands. A quiet voice pulls her away from her thoughts.

Doda.”

A shiver runs down Elizabeth’s spine. Before she can even turn around to greet her guest, the child within her womb begins to leap and turn, so much so she has to stop and catch her breath. He had never moved like this, but this was different, wasn’t it? The visitor is special, and Elizabeth knows it in her spirit.

She turns toward the door to see a young woman with long, black hair and piercing, dark eyes.

Mary.

There is uncertainty in her stance, but Elizabeth sees beyond it to that which is in her: her strength, her practicality, her love. More than that, though, she is taken with the grace and favor that cover her—her and the child within her. Elizabeth doesn’t know how she knows, but she does. Joy suddenly fills her.

“Imagine, the mother of my L-rd in my home!” she states and gathers Mary up in her arms. “You are blessed among women and blessed…” – Elizabeth pulls back from her and cups her face – “…is the fruit of your womb.”

She takes in Mary’s hopeful expression and laughs.

“You know, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me!” Elizabeth laughs again. “Oh, my dear, you are blessed, don’t you know? Because you believed, you are blessed; and now you will see fulfilled what Adonai has spoken. Just wait.”

* * *

Mary sighs and smiles. Elizabeth knew, and she didn’t even have to tell her. It’s as if a weight had been taken off her shoulders and she allows the emotions to burst forth from her heart.

“I await his fulfillment,” she begins, “The breath of my being makes great the name of the L-rd, and his joy expands within me, his handmaiden. Because he has made his favor obvious, people from all ages will say I have attained the blessing of the heavens and they will make my name supreme because Adonai’s name is sacred.

“His words persist through the ages to those who fear him. He has scattered the proud and toppled the mighty from their thrones. He has exalted the lowly and satisfied the hungry with good things, though he sends the rich away empty. Adonai has helped Israel, just as he spoke to Abraham and his descendants, and fulfilled his promise for the Mashiac through me.”

Though her heart soars, Mary finds herself drained. But Elizabeth is there to support her and the two women embrace again. Mary hangs on tightly, happy to have an ally. Then she feels a jab to her midsection and remembers Elizabeth’s pregnancy. She pulls away and looks down at her doda’s belly, protruding greatly in front of her. Mary laughs, realizing the child just kicked her. She lets her hands slide down Elizabeth’s arm to her bulging womb.

Adonai is great, is he not?” Elizabeth says, her voice filled with awe and wonder.

“I had almost forgotten.” Mary turns her gaze up. Elizabeth was older than Anna and the years showed. Her hair was streaked with gray and she had wrinkles on her face; yet it shined like that of a young woman, with a smile that lit up the room.

“I can’t help but marvel at the goodness of Adonai,” Elizabeth laughs, placing her hand on her belly. “They called me barren, but now I am going to be a mother.”

Mary is happy to be a part of her aunt’s joy.

“Oh, but listen to me go on and on like an old cow,” Elizabeth says. “Look at you. You’ve grown up to be a beautiful young woman. And favored too. Surely your abba and imma are proud. There must be an iyshah now, too, right? Where are they?”

Mary stops and looks away. For a brief, wonderful moment, she had forgotten she would have to explain her presence there.

“You know what?” Elizabeth says, softening her tone. Mary turns back to her and can see the understanding in her eyes. “Let’s get you settled. You can wash up and eat. Then we can talk.”

Mary nods, grateful.

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