The Third Sunday of Advent – Patrick Allred
Reading: Luke 1:47-55
How many times have your holiday plans been interrupted by unexpected travel delays? Maybe it is a canceled flight due to severe weather, a family member getting sick, or some other unforeseen circumstance. More than likely, we have had to make that phone call because plans have changed. Hannah and I are from Texas and Oklahoma, so we’ve had to make those calls frequently since moving to New Jersey in 2017. These unforeseen circumstances take us away from our “home away from home.” It’s that place so familiar that even though it may not be our place of residence, we feel comfortable just reaching into a cabinet for a coffee mug and have no problem putting our feet up on the ottoman in the living room. That place might be with a family member, a friend, or that place you go to get away.
Mary’s plans have changed dramatically in Luke 1, but it’s not about travel plans. The entire scope of her life has changed with just one visit from the angel Gabriel. “And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.” This visit from the angel of the Lord causes Mary to make travel plans. Mary learns that Elizabeth, her relative, is also expecting a child and immediately visits her “with haste.” Luke tells us that Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit once she greets Mary, her relative and fellow expecting mother. During her visit, Luke tells us that Mary spoke the words that we see as “Mary’s song of praise” in Luke 1:47-55. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Mary’s visit with Elizabeth fills her with joy and calms her nerves about becoming the mother of the Son of God. Luke then tells us that she stays with Elizabeth for an additional three months. This became her home away from home.
May we all travel “with haste” this Advent to those people and places, our “home away from home,” that fill us with the Spirit of God. Let us always run to those people and places, even beyond Advent, when we’re feeling anxious, nervous, or just need a cup of coffee from a familiar cupboard that isn’t our own.
Enjoy your “home away from home” this week! If it’s a friend or family member that lives far away, make some time to catch up on Zoom or FaceTime. If you don’t have the time to go to your true “home away from home,” try going to that new restaurant or coffee shop that you’ve wanted to try. In any case, spend time with that person or place that makes your spirit rejoice in God.
Midweek Reading and Prayer
Creator God, we pray that our soul magnifies and our spirit rejoices in you this day. Let us always run to the people and places where we see you and feel your presence. God, you are in all and with all. Give us the eyes to see and ears to hear you in our lives. Let us be open and present of the ways that you are using us to share your grace and mercy with others. Amen.