Week 2 – What Was it Like?, by Katrina Milligan
“And behold, even your relative Elizabeth has also conceived a son in her old age, and she who was called barren is now in her sixth month. For nothing will be impossible with God.” Luke 1:36-27 (NASB)
Scripture Passage: Luke 1:36-37, 39-56
The angel Gabriel tells Mary that her cousin, Elizabeth, who is past her child bearing years has conceived and is 6 months pregnant.
In verse 39 we see that Mary goes to visit Elizabeth. We don’t know why she went, but we might suppose that it could have been to remain safe, especially since she went “with haste”. Maybe it was to give the Lord time to talk with Joseph, and time for Joseph to grapple with the situation and to accept the words from the angel. Or, maybe she was just so overcome with joy herself she wanted to share it with someone she felt close to, who was having the same kind of blessing and could more easily share in her joy. At any rate, she traveled from Nazareth to a Judean town in the hill country. See map of Israel for distances. The distance from Nazareth to Bethlehem is approximately 90 miles. Remember though, Mary probably walked much, if not all the way. Ninety miles for us isn’t that big of a deal: hop in the car, drive about an hour and half, depending on how heavy your foot is on the gas pedal, and you are there.
At this point, Mary is not very far along in her pregnancy, she probably hasn’t felt the baby move, she probably isn’t even showing yet. Have you been pregnant, especially that first time, and wondered what was to come? You start noticing EVERY pregnant woman you see. All of the sudden the malls and grocery stores, laundry mats, and everywhere are loaded with women at various stages of pregnancy! You find yourself wondering, how does SHE feel? I remember watching women who were father along “waddling” and promising myself I WOULD NOT do the duck walk. I, of course, did! How funny! Other women probably having the same thoughts when they saw me waddling! Have you ever talked with women about the different things they are feeling, both emotionally and physically? Well, Mary is going to visit with her cousin and be able to ask ALL those questions, especially those questions that you wouldn’t ask anyone but a relative or a best friend because they are just too embarrassing!
Elizabeth was six months pregnant. In the sixth month of pregnancy, the baby will measure about 14-15 inches and weigh about 2 to 2-1/2 pounds. He can respond to noises outside the womb. He can kick, cry, and hiccup. Eyelids can open and close and the eyes are almost completely developed. Ridges for fingerprints are forming. For the pregnant mom, she may begin to experience heartburn. Stretch marks may begin appearing. She continues to gain about 3-4 pounds per month. 1
Have you ever been pregnant at the same time as another family member or your best friend? My sister and I were pregnant at the same time, me with my third child, she with her first. She was three months farther along in her pregnancy than I. It was very exciting to put our hands on each other’s tummies and feel the babies move, to share what we were feeling at that point and how the progression of the pregnancies were going. I could relate to where she was since I already had two children. We took pictures of the two of us sitting together on the couch with our big bellies exposed. I still get excited when people I am close with are pregnant. My best fried just had her sixth child. I enjoyed her pregnancy much more than I did my own! LOL! We’ve been close friends for the last four pregnancies, and our friendship started toward the end of her second. I talk to each of her children while they are in her womb, rubbing her tummy, feeling the baby move, trying to convince her that Katrina would be a GREAT name for the baby, etc. By the way, none of them are named Katrina!
When I was pregnant with my first child, I was amazed at how he would react whenever I held another baby, he would kick, as if he were saying, “Put that other baby down, I’m your child! I want your undivided attention!” It should have tipped me off to the temperament of this child! Just kidding! After the birth of my third child I realized how much they actually DO hear while inside the womb. He had just been born and was only a half a day old. He had been a very content baby in the nursery, but as they brought him down the hall to me he started screaming. The nurse said that was VERY unusual for him. Before she picked him up to bring him to me, I spoke to him, “What’s the matter Joshua?” The SECOND he heard MY voice, he stopped crying. A day or two later, I was bored, so I walked to the nursery, Joshua was crying so I requested to have him. They brought him out to me still in his little bed. I pushed the bed to my room, it made SO much noise, no wonder he had cried, he started crying again. Again, I started speaking to him, but hadn’t touched him yet, “Oh, Josh, it’s okay.” Again, as soon as he heard my voice he stopped crying! Since he had heard my voice throughout the whole pregnancy, he recognized it. Consider that John had NEVER heard Mary’s voice. But in verse 41, it says that when Elizabeth heard Mary’s voice, the baby jumped inside of her. Clearly the baby we now know as John the Baptist knew who he was as well as who his cousin was. John was already proclaiming to prepare the way of the Lord! Then Elizabeth was filled with the spirit and realized that her cousin was pregnant with the Messiah!
Whatever the reason Mary went to visit Elizabeth, by the time she got there, and heard Elizabeth’s proclamation, Mary, herself, was filled with joy and started singing (v. 46-55)! Have you ever been SO happy all you could do was sing praise songs?! Have you ever tried to figure out what song suited the moment and just skipped from one to another? Or, are you a song writer who puts scripture to music? Mary’s song was parts of many verses from the Old Testament, especially the Psalms, which were often sung. I wonder what melody Mary would have sung her song to. Clearly Mary knew she was indeed blessed and would be counted as blessed for all generations to come. I feel incredibly blessed by each of my children, it is an honor and blessing to be their mom. And I pray that when they were older, they will rise up and call me blessed (Proverbs 31:28). But, Mary isn’t hoping to be blessed, she KNOWS and proclaims “Surely, from now on ALL generations will call me blessed” (verse 48), and she was right!
Can you imagine, being a young girl and knowing that you would be counted as blessed by all generations from that time on?! You know how you feel when you are obedient to God, you know the overwhelming, indescribable peace and joy that being in obedience brings. Can you imagine how Mary must have felt to have been hand selected by God to be given this gift? I can’t imagine it. I would be overwhelming to me if an angel came and said, “Katrina, God has selected you, out of all the people, present, past and future, to do a job for Him. You are the only one suited to do this. You are HIS chosen one for this job.” I know what it is to be called. I was called to home school my children. I know the joy and peace that obeying that call brings, but for something to be SO important an angel is sent to tell me that I am THE person, after waiting for generations? I’m the only one? Wow, that’s pretty mind boggling! Yet, that is the kind of thing that Mary was experiencing.
Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months, almost to the end of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. Don’t you wonder what they must have talked about? All the joy and laughter they must have shared! How many times Mary must have leaned over to feel Elizabeth’s baby move. “Wow! That was a big kick!” How Elizabeth must have helped Mary through those first difficult months with morning sickness, fatigue, and all the other changes? They must have felt Mary’s tummy from time to time to feel it getting firmer and begin to swell. Did they wrap a string around Mary to see how much she had grown each month? It must have been an incredible bonding time, as only we women can understand.
We don’t know much about the rest of Mary’s pregnancy. The next thing we hear, she and Joseph are married and it’s time to take a long trip. But think about your pregnancies and the pregnancies of friends you are close to. You can imagine the progression. You can see her getting larger, eating more, even the duck walk! Remember the first time you feel the baby move? When it’s cemented in you that there is a baby growing inside you? Before you feel movement, it’s kind of just an academic knowledge, but when you feel the baby move, all of a sudden, it’s REAL! Then as the baby grows stronger how those movements wake you up at night. How about when those little toes get stuck between your ribs! Remember, while everyone does consider her blessed for all these generations, Mary was a human. She was not exempt from all the normal events of pregnancy. This truly miraculous story is still something that we can relate to and understand. Isn’t God awesome to let us be able to experience some of what Mary did, so that we can understand and revel in His glory all the more?
We will next be looking at Luke 2: 1-5.