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December 19

Updated: Dec 11, 2023

Scripture Reading

Luke 1:39-45

In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”


A Holy Haste

Haste is generally not considered a virtue in the Bible. But in this specific case, Mary’s haste was an outpouring of her joy and her faith, and therefore, much warranted. The angel Gabriel had just told the virgin Mary that she would conceive the saviour of the world by the Holy Spirit. Mary, though initially troubled and afraid, soon believed, and surrendered.

Her haste to visit Elizabeth soon thereafter was presumably to share the joy of this good news. I wonder how much of these incredibly glad tidings she fully grasped. When Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, told her ‘blessed is the fruit of your womb,’ did Mary grasp that this was the first time in human history that a child born would be untainted by sin?

Mary’s faith and joy and her haste to share her joy with Elizabeth multiplied the gladness all around. She was joyful. Elizabeth was joyful. Even the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy in this rapturous moment when Mary showed up at Elizabeth’s home. At that moment, Elizabeth not only saw Mary’s joy, she also saw her faith. “Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord,” Elizabeth exclaimed.

This is what we all desire every Advent season—that all our faith and joy would be multiplied several times over as we celebrate with one another in the gospel communities of our families and churches that God has placed us in.

Faith and joy are clearly the most obvious things to note in this passage. But Mary’s haste is important too. It is important because her haste was a missional haste. Our faith and joy, must always also be accompanied by an urgency in sharing them with others who do not yet believe in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 5:15-17 exhorts us to watch how we walk and make the best use of time because the days are evil. There is more than a hint of urgency here. Most of us tend to live busy lives. But busy lives generally tend to result in slowness in our evangelism. When we are busy, it is hard to really see people, to understand them, to love them, and to share the good news with them.

This is another reason why the Advent and Christmas holiday season is good for our souls. It helps us slow down. And, as we slow down in our lives, may the Holy Spirit stir us to holy haste in our evangelism.


Song: Joy to the World, Phil Wickham.

Scripture quotations are from the ESV®Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright© 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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