At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah, where she entered Zechariah's home and greeted Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-40). Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home (Luke 1:56).
Who is your go-to person, or persons? Say you have gotten good news...or bad news. You are confused or overjoyed. You need someone to go to, to be excited with, to settle down with, to talk, to cry, to pray. Who is this person—or persons—for you?
Mary's go-to person was her relative Elizabeth. Going to her required a journey of around 120 miles from Mary's hometown of Nazareth south to the hill country of Judah. Mary, in a hurry to get to Elizabeth, left immediately on the heels of Gabriel's mind-blowing exchange with her.
Why was Elizabeth Mary's go-to?
She lived miles away so they probably hadn't spent much time together. They weren't in the same age group or the same socio-economic group. Elizabeth was the elderly wife of Zechariah who served as a priest before God. Mary was a small town girl living in Nazareth. [“Nazareth! Can anything good come from there?” (John 1:46)]
She chose Elizabeth as her go-to because they were both caught up in God's pivotal work of bringing Jesus to the world. Gabriel had told Mary this. So although she had already said “I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said,” Elizabeth's pregnancy would be welcome confirmation. They both would share in the wonder and gravity of their situations.
It would be wonderfully needed community for them both.
And it was. Above and beyond! Elizabeth was six months pregnant and astounded that God had granted her this longed-for child in her advanced age. Now as Mary entered and greeted her, the baby within her leaped and the Holy Spirit filled her with words of blessing for Mary.
They then had three precious months together. Community time that would have buoyed them both up for the months to come.
Being in God's family makes us all relatives, as Mary and Elizabeth were. Nothing else about us—our race, ethnicity, status—interferes with that, as was true for them. We, too, are caught up in God's work of bringing Jesus to the world. Our work, though less momentous than theirs, is nonetheless “I am the Lord's servant” work, and precious in His sight.
To become a go-to community, we need to become go-to people.
We become go-to people by being other-focused, eager to understand others—be they like or unlike us—and more intent on connecting than on self-protecting. These are things we can practice in the family / community / country we're already in. Let's pray for one another for this to happen.