A deep personal connection with someone who “gets us,” brings us joy as we share the challenges and joys of life together. Make one if you don’t have one. It's one of the best Christmas gifts you can ever give – or get.
Hello everyone and welcome to episode 81. Today is the second of our December series, Relationships at Christmas.
I love the phrase, “he gets me,” or “she gets me.” You hear it in romantic chick flick comedies a lot. Not so much in the Bruce Willis genre of I-have-to-kill-the-bad-guys-or-else-the-world-will-be-destroyed movies.
I love the “he gets me” phrase because it captures a feeling of connection, oneness and understanding between two people in just 3 little words. It describes a relationship where you don’t have to explain yourself much, because someone knows you so well, so deeply, words aren’t necessary.
Those of us who have a relationship like this treasure it. But about the rest of us? How can we get this gift of connection where we can say of another person, “they get me?”
The Christmas story found in the Bible gives us an example of such a relationship. Let’s see what we can learn from it that we can apply in our own relationships.
Elizabeth and Mary – A Deep Personal Connection
The story is found in the gospel of Luke, chapter 1, and verses 26-45.
The same angel who visited Zechariah visits Mary, both Zechariah and Mary were scared, and he tells them “Don’t be afraid”
What do we know of Mary? She was a teenager, no older than 14, from Nazareth,
Mary comes from Nazareth
Located some fifteen miles west of the Sea of Galilee and twenty miles east of the Mediterranean Sea, Nazareth had a population between two and four hundred people during the time Jesus lived there.
Not known for anything significant, except the childhood home of Jesus. He was known as “Jesus of Nazareth.”
Up to the time of Jesus, Nazareth was a small podunk village, not known for anything it had to offer the world. In the Gospel of John, Nathaniel, in reference to Jesus asks “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
In a town this size, everyone knows everyone and each others’ business
An Angel visits Mary
The angel Gabriel visits Mary and tells her even though she is a virgin, she’s going to get pregnant and as a result, give birth to the savior of the world – a humanly impossible feat that defies the science. He then tells Mary of another humanly impossible feat: her elderly relative Elizabeth is pregnant too!
I wonder if this is why God orchestrated John the Baptist’s birth late in the life of his parents. To give Mary a companion, a fellow traveler, who was also dealing with the humanly impossible. Elizabeth and Mary were going to be in it together. They were not going to trust the science alone. They would have each other. What a deep personal connection!
In just 3 days after Mary’s visit from Gabriel, she hurries to her relative Elizabeth’s house. She may have been her aunt or a cousin. How did Mary explain this to her own mother? How did she explain her absence to Joseph her fiancé? Why did she go? God, through his Spirit told her in so many words, “You go, girl!”
Mary visits Elizabeth
When Mary greeted Elizabeth in Zechariah’s home there was much joy in the house. Elizabeth was over the moon excited with Mary’s arrival. How affirming Elizabeth was to Mary at a time when Mary needed some connection with another human being who had a sense of what was going within her, both within her body and her mind.
The text says Mary stayed with Elizabeth for 3 months. Elizabeth was already 6 months pregnant, so what does that mean? The math tells me Mary was probably around for the birth of John the Baptist. What great preparation for 14-year-old Mary for what would happen to her in 9 months. What great preparation for her pregnancy itself in going through Elizabeth’s pregnancy with her.
I wonder what Zechariah thought? Here this young relative, maybe a cousin or niece of his wife moves in for 3 months. What was that like for him, for the two women, Elizabeth and Mary?
Elizabeth’s pregnancy was a mystery and a miracle to her friends and neighbors. But Mary’s pregnancy was a source of shame to her friends, family, and people in the village of Nazareth where everyone knew each others’ business. Mary needed Elizabeth more than Elizabeth needed Mary.
Elizabeth, the older woman, blesses Mary the younger woman.
It doesn't always work this way
Janet worked for a time with Mom’s n More, a ministry at a church we used to attend. She and other older women were supposed to be mentors to younger women. But the younger women almost always relied on their peers for advice about dealing with the many issues a young mom deals with. Rarely did they go to someone like Janet who had been down that path before and knew where the booby traps were hidden and how to deal with them.
Mary goes on to praise God, which we’ll save for the next episode.
But for now, what a beautiful and intimate personal connection between Elizabeth and Mary. Elizabeth knew what was happening to Mary even before her visit because God’s spirit told her, not Mary. Just as the Spirit of God told Mary what was happening with Elizabeth.
And the Spirit of God still works that way today, putting people together, connecting them with each other in a way that advances God’s plan for the whole world. Not just for one’s individual happiness.
The Holy Spirit still prompts us to reach out and connect with people of his choosing.
What a great Christmas gift of a deep personal connection for both of these women before the very first Christmas. This intimate personal connection was a gift from God to both Elizabeth and Mary.
If you forget everything else, here’s the one thing I hope you remember from today’s episode
Giving a Christmas gift of a deep personal connection with someone who gets us, who understands us, is one of the best Christmas gifts you can ever give – or get.
Here’s what we can all do in response to today’s program
Who can we try to connect with who “gets us?” Who understands us?
If there’s no one on the horizon who can do that for us, who is someone we can extend ourselves to in an effort to “get them.” To understand them?
Who might the Holy Spirit be telling us we could be an Elizabeth to? What in your experience has prepared you to be an Elizabeth to someone else?
Who is someone with the cards stacked against them that we can come alongside to let them know you will be with them, in whatever they are dealing with, that you will be there with them together? You’ll walk through things together. Even if it’s shame.
As always, another thing you could do is let me and your fellow listeners know what resonated with you about today’s episode. You can share your thoughts in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of the show notes. Or you can send them to me in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A related resource that might interest you
I hope your thinking was stimulated by today’s show, to both reflect and to act. So that you will find the joy God intends for you through your relationships. Because after all, You Were Made for This.
Our Relationship Quote of the Week
There are people who take the heart out of you, and there are people who put it back. – Elizabeth David
That’s all for today. See you next week. Goodbye for now.
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