I want to share the story about Mary and Elizabeth with you all because it is such a beautiful witness as to how we ought to rejoice in one another. I once was given a card that said “comparison is the thief of joy.” How true is this? It is so difficult to recognize and appreciate the goodness in others when we are only focused on wanting others to see the good in ourselves.
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”
What sticks out to me is Elizabeth’s response to Mary’s good news. Elizabeth doesn’t say, “Are you kidding? I thought I was cool getting to have a baby at my old age, and here you come saying your having the Son of God.” Rather she says, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my ears, the babe in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be the fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Luke 1:42-45).
Whoa! What a beautiful response Elizabeth gave to Mary. Then Mary, after receiving this compliment, does not boast and think about how great she is, but rather she gives all the glory to the Lord.
And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me — holy is his name. His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones, but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, even as he said to our fathers.”
Imagine if this was the way we responded to the goodness going on in the lives of our friends.
My prayer is that we can genuinely rejoice in one another, that we will not compare or be jealous, but rejoice in the way that Elizabeth rejoiced in Mary, and also that we give all the glory to God for all the blessings He has bestowed upon us.