Weeks ago we leaned over the edge of November’s gratitude to look into December, and we reflected on Mary’s Song of a Grateful Heart. When Mary erupted into her chorus of praise, she had just arrived at the home of her relatives, Elizabeth and Zechariah. The two were both from priestly lines of Israel, and while Elizabeth exclaimed, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” Zechariah met Mary’s arrival in silence.
The aged priest Zechariah wasn’t pouting or fulfilling a vow; he was in a season of trust training. Though his visiting relative was a female, young, and pregnant, the two actually had a lot in common. Mary’s song appears in Luke 1:46-55, and Zechariah’s song appears in Luke 1:68-79.
Grounded in God’s Word
The angel Gabriel visited both of these kinfolk. First, he told childless old Zechariah his wife would conceive and bear a son with divine purpose. Next, Gabriel revealed to Mary she would bear the promised Messiah, Son of Almighty God. Though decades apart in age and distant in location, each was Grounded in God’s Word before they encountered the extraordinary. Mary revealed an understanding of God’s acts, character, and words spoken to her forefathers. Zechariah refers to Old Testament prophecies (See these shared by Kathy) and the fulfillment of God’s promises. Before they knew they would be a unique part of God’s plan, these two knew God’s truth.
Stretched to Trust
Zechariah didn’t experience the pregnancy stretch marks Mary must’ve, but because of his unbelief, the aged father-to-be was stricken with silence for the duration of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. He emerged from the temple stunned and silent. Imagine being Elizabeth when Zechariah got home from work that day! The silent months were not without purpose, though, as God took the righteous man (Luke 1:6) and kneaded trust into his heart and life. Likewise, Mary was also presented with a shock worthy message, but she was blessed for believing. Since God became flesh, we know that Mary carried Jesus in her womb for 9 months, months in which she traveled to her relatives’ home and then to Jerusalem to be counted in the census. It wasn’t a cake walk for a young, first time mom, but the months were not wasted, as God prepared her heart for what was to come, kneading that same trust into her heart. Perhaps those months of trust training explain why we don’t read, “And lo, there was no room for them, and Mary had a meltdown on the streets of Bethlehem.” These two were grounded in God’s truth and had a strong sense of trust.
Maybe it was a family trait, or maybe it’s just evidence of God’s work in a yielded heart. Despite carrying the burden of extraordinary futures, along with challenges of silence and unwed pregnancy, both Zechariah and Mary exploded in songs of praise after their angelic encounters. We don’t read a chorus of complaint or even a refrain of reluctance. We read a song of praise. Mary expresses hers when she arrives at the home or Zechariah and Elizabeth, and Zechariah expresses his when his voice is restored at John’s birth and naming. It’s as if they couldn’t wait to rejoice and to tell us why.
Mary: “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for …”
Zechariah: “Blessed by the Lord God of Israel, for …”
They weren’t super human. Though they had been scripture digging before the announcements, each had questions about the revelations. Zechariah wanted to know, “How shall I know this?” Mary asked, “How can this be…?” Wisdom from being Grounded in God’s Word prepared them to believe. The Stretching of their Trust prepared them for their future, and their Praise Songs worshiped God for His faithfulness.
When trust grows, it produces praise.
- If God wanted to use you in an extraordinary way, would you be grounded in His Word and ready?
- God may be stretching you right now through difficult circumstances. Is your trust growing?
- Look back on God’s acts in your life this year. Ask Him for opportunities to share a song of praise for His mighty deeds.