From working with high school students, I’ve learned that it’s rare to find a set of teenage siblings who are audibly proud of their parents. Put to it, many likely are, but usually competition between them drowns out any parental adoration. It would be a striking thing if a family were different. It would be a striking thing if our family, the household of God, were different. Look at the way Elizabeth responds to Mary:
Luke 1:39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
Now, to tell you the truth it’s unclear to me how the Holy Spirit is working in Elizabeth. Does he “take her over” in a way as unique as He helps her conceive John? Does the Spirit fill and influence her in the same way He fills and influences me? Either way, she responds by His power and we can trust that what she says to Mary is an accurate reflection of how God wants His children to respond to His gifts.
Elizabeth isn’t competing with Mary. “Of course,” you may reply, “why would they compete about babies given from God?” For the same reason that we compete over the gifts that God has given us: money, talent, relationships, opportunities. Elizabeth, the older relative, carrying a child of unquestioned legitimacy, respected in the community, exclaims that she is blessed that Mary would even visit her.
Don’t wait for a virgin birth to stand in awe of God’s generosity around us. Don’t wait for the supernatural to marvel at His grace to involve you in it. What have you or I done to be faithful, to be fruitful, to be alive? We’ve done nothing; we simply have an amazing Heavenly Father.
Exclaim today. Exclaim like Elizabeth. It is no concern to her whether anyone notices how much God is blessing the world through her. Instead, she declares praise to God and lavishes encouragement on Mary (who’s had a tough go of it in her gossip-laden hometown), without self-regard. In your sphere, are there brothers or sisters in Christ who you often compete with? Consider the ways that God is blessing the world through them and how you can respond with the Elizabeth’s humility.