The Visitation: a reflection

15s4h7d

It was a long journey to the hill country. She’d heard that there were women who, when pregnant, put their feet up and were waited upon, as though their condition was some sort of illness. Her own pregnancy had been – shall we say – unusual. Joseph was a good man. Other men would just have sent her back home – covered in shame; some would have had her stoned. Joseph had been sad, but not bitter. Then the dream had brought him into the world she had entered when the angel came to talk to her; that had made things good again. He looked after her – he always had. But he understood things – the way older men just did. He knew she had to go to visit Elizabeth.

Who would have believed that old, barren Elizabeth, could have a child – and at her age? It was a sorrow known only to women – the pain of being barren. Who but a woman so afflicted could know the pain of watching sisters and cousins grow fruitful and give birth, holding that messy but lovely little baby to your breast? Mary had seen it so often, When she was betrothed, she knew this would be her fate; but what had she really known? God’s plan for her was beyond her power to appreciate – but she had been happy to be the handmaid of the Lord. She’s wanted to be that in the Temple, she’d wanted to serve God – but who could have known this was her service?

So she wanted to see Elizabeth. Her own quickening seemed to increase as she got closer. She wondered how it would be with her cousin?  How she wanted to share her own joy, and how she wanted to congratulate and embrace Elizabeth.

In the quiet of the evening she reflected. It was a moment filled with God’s Spirit. Elizabeth had spoken like a prophet inspired, and that, in turn had inspired her to praise God – she could remember every word they had both said, and above all, she remembered the babe in her womb reacting. She knew that the rabbis wrote such things down, but she had no need. She knew her scriptures as well as any man. She loved to listen to the word of God. Yet she felt as though, earlier, she had been the vessel of that Word.

What had she done when he said she would be the handmaid of the Lord? Who could know? It was best to throw yourself at God’s feet and to trust, as she had when she was a little girl. Elizabeth had known, known who it was lay in her womb, and that could only have been by the workings of the same Spirit through whom she had become with child herself. What was this great mystery, how could she bear the Messiah? Surely he would come to one of those high-born women who would treat pregnancy as an illness? But her Son would treat the illness of the whole world. Her Son? How could it be? That, at least, was easy to answer – God willed it.

Now it was late evening, and she was tired. She would go upstairs and sleep under the stars – with the blessed fruit of her womb. She would wait. Her time was coming.

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About JessicaHof
Anglican Christian, evangelist, survivor, grateful

24 Responses to The Visitation: a reflection

  1. NEO says:

    Personally, I love when you do these. You bring these people out of the mists of legend and make them into people whose motivation, and desires become much like our own, and so much more understandable.

    I’m very glad to see them again, dearest friend, as the Magdalene said, in Superstar, they move me so! 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • JessicaHof says:

      Thank you dearest friend – they come to me when I pray, so it is nice to share 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • NEO says:

        I’m very glad you do! 🙂 xx

        Liked by 2 people

  2. the unit says:

    I understand the message here today and appreciate it so much. So because God willed it.
    But since it is still a few days before Christmas I want to make a political comment. We been politically commenting some now.
    The masters of worldly government have recognized the power of belief, commitment, and control by way of faith. They like it (not for us) and want the same (the control part for them). So we are told it is best to throw ourselves, handmaidens and serfs, at the feet of government and trust and chant…”this is who we are.” Government wills it.
    I hope I understand a “smidgen” of the government/political aspect. “But he understood things – the way older men just did.” lol

    Liked by 2 people

    • NEO says:

      I think you pretty much have it figured out correctly!

      Yeah, I liked that line too! Nice when the young ‘uns show some respect! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • JessicaHof says:

      Good thoughts – and I think we have to resist claims from governments as Christians have a prior one.

      Like

  3. Of course biblically and theologically, these things were “revelatory, i.e. revelation”…and no doubt given alone to both Joseph and Mary! (Luke 2: 33-34-35) … (As too, to some degree, to the “shepherds”, and Anna, Luke 2: 8-18 ; 2: 36-38).

    Like

    • There is absolutely nothing in the Text that Joseph shared his doubts and trial about Mary’s possible unfaithfulness! And for this he was given a dream and revelation! (Matthew 1: 18-20, noting too verse 22-24/25).

      Like

      • Note, the dream and revelation was literally: ” Behold, an Angel of the Lord!” (Matt. 1: 20) Indeed God does not cast His “pearls before swine”!

        Like

      • NEO says:

        Nor did she say he did. But until the angel explained, you, and I, know he had them, who wouldn’t?

        Like

        • Liberal so-called theology has made a mess out of this! Note even the Catholic Bill O’Reilly’s book and movie about ‘Killing Jesus’, is way off here!

          Like

        • NEO says:

          If O’Reilly gets something right it’s purely accidental. He’s far more worried about selling books than accuracy. Jess (and I) are far more likely to refer to the patristic fathers than anybody current.

          Like

        • Btw, no attack at all towards Jessica! Just a bit of clarity, biblically & theologically, on such an important subject!

          Liked by 1 person

        • NEO says:

          Sure, and I didn’t mean to sound like an attack, either. Just a clarification. Sometimes you and I tend to be a bit brusque, as we’ve found. 🙂

          Like

        • Btw, the issue is not about Joseph’s doubts (which indeed were normal), but about the fact that he did NOT share them with anyone, save perhaps Mary? When he thought about a secret divorce, but then he was given a personal revelation (in his dream) that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit! Everyone believed that Joseph was the natural father of Jesus, save of course Joseph and Mary.

          Like

        • Me, “brusque”? lol No, just the nature of a biblical “theolog”, and a conservative one at that! 😉

          Like

        • Btw, I can move some in the Patristics! I have read my share of both the Eastern and Western Fathers. But it is no secret I am much more Augustinian than any other! As were both Luther and Calvin. Aye Reformed and Reformational I am, as I believe we can see from out of St. Paul! 🙂

          Like

        • Btw, let me recommend an old Anglican writer who was more towards the Eastern Orthodox, at least with spirituality and perhaps soteriology (salvation). Bishop F.N.C.”Nugent” Hicks book: The Fullness Of Sacrifice, An Essay In Reconciliation, (First Edition 1930). I have the Third Edition 1946 / 1953, London SPCK, Hardback (370 pages). Just a grand book! And one Orthodox theologians say they could have written.

          Btw, I agree too with the Orthodox, that Joseph was perhaps an older man when he met and married Mary? And of course Mary had but one Son, her “Firstborn” Jesus! Perhaps the so-called Brothers of Jesus, were from an earlier marriage of Joseph? This is the Orthodox tradition!

          Like

        • NEO says:

          That’s also what Jess and I both believe.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I have been close to the general history and theology of the Eastern Orthodox for many years! I almost went to Orthodoxy several years back, but I just could not get around Augustine and his “Augustinian” doctrine of salvation (soteriology). And I am simply Reformed on the Doctrines of Grace! Though I am now more Neo-Calvinist. And John Calvin is still one of my favorite biblical theologians! Though I am always an Anglican evangelical in ecclesiology, with the BCP and the Thirty Nine Articles, seen from the Reformed perspective.

          Btw, every serious biblical theolog should read some of the Russian intellectual and Orthodox Churchman, Georges Florovsky! He was friends with Karl Barth also. (And Barth, pronounced Bart btw, should also be read!) Of course Barth is/was his own kind of theologian. But, I would be remiss if I did not mention my one American Reformed theolog and mentor, (who is still around in his mid 70’s) good old John Frame! (See his latest work: Systematic Theology, 1219 pages, the subtitle is An Introduction To Christian Belief, 2013.) The only weakness is in eschatology in my opinion! But then I am an unrepentant Historic Premillennialist, and Pro-Modern Israel!

          Rock on! 😉

          Like

        • Yes, I am an old theological eclectic! Something hard for my hardcore Reformed friends! But, right within “my own” historic Anglicanism! 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on My Daily Musing and commented:

    A great post and reflection.

    Liked by 1 person

    • JessicaHof says:

      Thank you so much – very kind of you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • It was my pleasure to reblog your post. It was great, :).

        Liked by 1 person

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