This year my A to Z challenge is about Christmas, a major festival in the Christian Church. Another major festival is Easter, which I wrote about for the A to Z Challenge in 2020.
Elizabeth was the wife of Zechariah, a priest. They were both descended from Aaron the brother of Moses. Only members of the tribe of Levi could be priests.
In the place and time when they lived it was shameful for a wife not to have any children. Elizabeth was getting old and had never had children. The birth of her son was foretold by the Angel of the Lord. This prophecy will be the focus of a later post in this series. Luke 1:12-17
When the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary he told her that Elizabeth was pregnant. Mary and Elizabeth were related to each other, so Mary went to visit Elizabeth. Luke 1:36-37 From the dates given in the story it is possible that Mary stayed with Elizabeth until after the birth of John. Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. Mary may not have set off straightaway to visit Elizabeth. We are told that she stayed about three months with Elizabeth in Zechariah’s house. She may have wanted to see Elizabeth’s baby before returning to Nazareth. We are not told where Elizabeth and Zechariah lived, but as he was a priest it would most probably been in or near Jerusalem.
When Mary arrived in the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth, she greeted Elizabeth, who replied with the words, which have become known as the Ave Maria (Hail Mary) and are important in the Roman Catholic liturgy. The unborn child, John, had leapt in his mother’s womb in recognition of Mary’s unborn chid, Jesus. Luke 1:39-45
When Elizabeth’s baby boy was born her relatives expected him to be called Zechariah after his father. Elizabeth spoke out by saying, ‘He is to be called John.’ Luke 1:59-60
Two other posts in this series will be needed to complete the story, but if you are unable to wait until we reach the end of the alphabet, perhaps you should read the whole of Chapter 1 of Luke’s gospel.
Ave Maria is the chorus of this beautiful carol by Malcolm Archer.
While this year’s A to Z badges by Anjela Curtis honour the late Jeremy Hawkins, I hope that my posts about Christmas honour Jesus Christ, ‘who was and is and is to come’. Revelation 1:4