by Tony Nester

Quickening from God
Tony Nester
Luke 1:39-56

Elizabeth and Mary, two women with child, are signs of the hope that is at the heart of Christmas. As long as the Christmas story is told the world will not forget that Christmas began with the quickening of unborn life in these two women.

Just as the Word being made flesh was not anticipated by human wisdom, so too neither were the pregnancies of these two women expected. Elizabeth was too old to be regarded as a good candidate for such an important part of the Christmas story. Elizabeth was the wife of the priest Zechariah. Both she and Zechariah had resigned themselves to being childless. "My time for children is over. I am an old woman and will never carry a child." Too old.

Mary, in contrast, was too young and inexperienced to be a mother. She was a virgin betrothed to Joseph without yet having a wedding date. "Will Joseph truly love me? Will I be able to bear children? When will I know? What will it be like? Will I be a good mother?" Too young.

Mary travels through the hill country of Judah to visit Elizabeth, one of her relatives. Each woman is now carrying a child who will bring the Gospel into the world. Elizabeth will give birth to John the Baptist; from Mary will come the birth of Jesus.

The Scripture says that when Mary entered Elizabeth's home and greeted her, Elizabeth felt her baby move in her womb. Elizabeth was overcome with the Holy Spirit and cried out, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb."

Mary, in response, offered her own words of amazed praise to God, words that we have come to know as the Magnificat.

{46} "My soul magnifies the Lord, {47} and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, {48} for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; {49} for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

Quickening is a word we use to identify the ...

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