So there you are, standing flat-footed on an old step ladder outside of an even older house. Peering through a dusty window you see two women. One is visibly aged and the other is notedly youthful. Oddly, both show signs that they are with child. Judging by the relative protrusion of their stomachs, you surmise that the senior is in her third trimester, while the junior is in her first. Graciously, the younger assists the older in household activities. Occasionally, the older sits in rest due to episodic fatigue.
Intrigued by the sight of two women who, for all intents and purposes shouldn't be pregnant, you become concerned for the well-being of the babies lodged within. Will the younger, merely a baby herself, be able to adequately care for her forthcoming child? Will the older, gripped by the fragility of longevity, have the necessary energy to attend to her boisterous baby? Is this ironic picture of two seemingly ill-equipped women a precursor to impending parental disaster? Suddenly, your meandering thoughts are interrupted by the shaky step ladder which threatens to capsize at any moment.
I don't know how you dive into Scripture, but I have taken my step ladder to many a window in the Bible. The window into what I call Mary and Elizabeth's "three-month long baby shower" is one of my favorites. For a quarter of a year, Mary sits to glean seasoned wisdom from the annals of Elizabeth's life experience. Elizabeth is daily encouraged by Mary's early decision to completely surrender to God's plan for her life. Each considers the other blessed. Theirs is a poignant picture of intergenerational pollination. One is not better than the other. Rather, each, if willing to listen, can learn something from the other.
Now, slowly focus your imaginative lens on their abdomens. Inside are two of the world's most precious jewels. Mary and Elizabeth know this, but not many others. To the masses, they may be two regular pregnant women with two basic babies. But, nothing could be further from the truth because when was the last time a virgin or an octogenarian was pregnant!? Although Mary and Elizabeth do not completely understand the timing, these two beloved women are keenly aware of their unique roles in the drama of salvation history and the extraordinary assignments preordained for each of their sons. Simply put, they are pregnant with promise.
Months away from nearly undocumented births and years away from their initial sermons, John and Jesus are tucked away in the bellies of an old lady and a teenager. Somehow, this is all a part of God's divine plan. Cramped inside pear-shaped sacks are the world's Redeemer and His prophetic hype man. God chose to package the promise in two pregnant women. They believed. Do you?
"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!"