Hespeler 16 December 2018 © Scott McAndless
Luke 1:39-45, Luke 1:46-55
t usually happens somewhere between 13 and 16 weeks into a pregnancy. I’ve not experienced it myself, for pretty obvious reasons, but I understand that, at first, it is just like a little fluttering sensation in your belly. Sometimes you might not even be sure exactly what it is and wonder if it might just be gas or something. But, when you first do figure out what it really is, it changes everything. It is traditionally called the quickening.
I think that for many mothers when they first feel that – first feel their baby moving within them, it is a great sign. You see, up until then, they have known that they were expecting. They have known that everything happening within them was leading to a baby being born, but that is just head knowledge. In many cases, it just doesn’t seem real. For many mothers, the moment when that happens is when they feel that movement inside them, movement inside their body that is not them. A new ultimately independent life is forming within. And all of a sudden it becomes very real: their life is about to change in ways that they can hardly even imagine. It is a clear sign of a new beginning.
This morning we read the story of the time when Mary, the mother of Jesus, met Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist. And, when that happened, something happened inside of Elizabeth. Her baby moved within her. And, on the one hand, it was an entirely ordinary thing. It was the kind of thing that happens to virtually every mother somewhere between 13 and 16 weeks. Except it isn’t really ordinary, is it? Every mother knows that it is always extraordinary when that first happens. Every mother knows that it is a sign and Elizabeth knew that it was a sign.
But Elizabeth, the new prophet, declared the meaning of her sign and what she declared was a sign unlike any other: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?”