Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Waiting in the Hill Country

Mary set out, proceeding in haste into the hill country to a town of Judah, where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. (Lk 1:39-40)

Mary, you traveled about 70 miles over rough territory, which in those days likely took a week to traverse. Having just received the angel’s message, you hurried on your way to the hill country of Judah to help your pregnant and elderly cousin Elizabeth in her time of need. You were pregnant yourself. Were you suffering from morning sickness? Were you afraid to travel so far alone? I wonder what was going through your mind. There you were, an unwed mother with your betrothed questioning your dignity and fidelity. He could divorce and shame you. If anyone else found out, you could be stoned for adultery. Yet you went anyway. In spite of your own condition, your joy in the Savior’s message of hope was uncontainable and your desire to reach out to your cousin unrestrainable. She needed you; nothing else mattered.

How far would I travel to bring consolation to a relative or friend? How many miles would I go? How many days would I travel? How much of my own comfort would I give up to do it? There are so many causes out there begging for my help. In times of economic and moral instability, I can barely see to my own needs much less the needs of others.

Mary, proceed in haste to my hill country. It might harbor others who need me or it might harbor my very self. Enter the home of my heart and greet me with a sign of God’s hope – the Savior nestled within your womb.

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