Tonight at Royal Oak First Methodist (where I serve) we had our first Advent by Candlelight. This is an event for women both from the church and from the community. Ladies of the church host tables and are encouraged to invite friends and neighbors. Tables are decorated in High Holiday Fashion. There is a beautiful program with music, scripture, the lighting of candles and women sharing their stores of hope and peace and joy and love. It is peaceful and electric at the same time as the sanctuary fills with women. As the pastor and host of the program, I had the best seat in the house and I love looking at row after row of women, young and old and everything in between. There are women I recognize but lots of women I do not. There are those I recognize simply through the family resemblance. After the program we go to the decorated tables for dessert and fellowship. It is a beautiful night; it is a powerful night. (Sandy Davis, my friend, you rocked it tonight.)
Mary knew the power of sisterhood, which is why she went running to her relative Elizabeth when she learned of her pregnancy. We believe Mary was a teenager and we know Elizabeth was much older, but both women were pregnant.
“She (Mary) goes with haste to Elizabeth, since it is already Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy. I also think she goes because she needs Elizabeth. As we have seen, the Gospels tell us nothing about Mary’s parents. Perhaps Mary, newly pregnant needs an older woman, a trusted relative with whom she can share her feelings both physical and spiritual.” (Light of the World; Amy-Jill Levine)
The two women come together and something miraculous happens when pregnant Elizabeth see pregnant Mary.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 4and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 4And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 4And blessed is she who believed that there would be[e] a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (Luke 1:41-45)
Did you catch that? The child inside Elizabeth “leaps for joy” when meeting Mary who is carrying the baby Jesus. Then Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit.”
The miracle of Christmas is coming and it starts with the power of two women coming together.
The sounds of women talking and laughing are still ringing in my ears tonight. The Advent by Candlelight service was a reminder not only of the special bond among women but of the power that is unleashed when women get together.
Grace and Peace at Advent