Mother’s Day – Mary and Elizabeth

I was able to visit my mother this past week for the first time in two months since my return from my
preaching tour in the USA, house quarantine and lockdown in South – Africa due to the Covid-19
pandemic. I took some flowers and gifts to her to celebrate Mother’s Day. We could not hug one
another as we were meeting at the security gate of the nursery home where she stays. She was at
one side of the gate and I on the other. But we had a few moments to see and talk to each other.
Mother’s Day was a special moment of celebration amidst these difficult times of uncertainty and fear.
Mother’s Day commemorated the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and
the influence of mothers in society.
Driving back home after my visit, I was thinking about the brevity of life and how we must continue to
make memories with the ones we love. I also remembered all the wonderful things my mother has
done for us, through her caring, providing and loving. Even until this day, when I am travelling away
from home, I daily receive an encouraging message from my mother. Sophia Loren says it best: “When
you are a mother you are never really alone in your thoughts. A Mother always have to think twice.
Once for herself and once for her child”
By thinking of my mother’s influence in my life, I thought about the impact other mothers had on their
children. Hudson Taylor who started the China Inland Mission, had a mother who prayed for him. John
and Charles Wesley’s mother, Susanna Wesley shaped them into the leaders of the Wesleyan Church.
Andrew Murray was also impacted by his mother who encouraged and challenged him to stay close
to God. It is also special to think that God chose Mary to play a role in the life of Jesus.
One of my favorite places in Israel is Ein Karem, a few miles outside of Jerusalem. It is a quiet and
small village in the mountains. Every year thousands of tourists and pilgrims travel to this place. It is
the site that is believed to be the home of Elizabeth and the birthplace of John the Baptist. In the town,
a bronze statue symbolizes the place where Elizabeth met Mary as she arrived in town after her
journey from Galilee. There is also a sign with Mary’s song (Luke 1:46-56) which commemorates the
special and important relationship Mary and Elizabeth shared. Where did it all start?
The angel Gabriel shocked Mary with the news that she would give birth to baby Jesus (Luke 1:26-
38). She must have felt as if her world came to a halt as she processed what the angel had told her.
Although, life continued on normally for people around her, she desperately needed to figure out how
she would proceed. She was well aware of the fact that she was not married yet and according to the
law (Deuteronomy 22:34) she knew she would be stoned. What she needed was someone who would
believe her story and provide encouragement. She needed someone who could help her gain
perspective on what she was facing; someone who would listen and be empathetic. She remembered
the words of Gabriel about Elizabeth (Luke 1:36), so she left Galilee to visit her aunt Elizabeth (Luke
Gabriel also visited Elizabeth a few months before and told her that she will give birth to a son, who
would become the forerunner for Jesus. Elizabeth was old and well advanced in the years (Luke 1:18)
when she fell pregnant with a ‘miracle baby” (Luke 1:5-25). When Mary arrived after nine days of
travelling, her greeting to Elizabeth made the baby (John) leap with joy in Elizabeth’s womb and she
was filled with the Holy Spirit (v.41,44). Elizabeth received confirmation that her baby would play a
very important role, just like Gabriel said. While Mary brought a blessing to Elizabeth, she also received
the comfort she needed. Elizabeth’s testimony and faith removed Mary’s fear and uncertainty. She
said: “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But what is granted to
me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? Blessed is she who believed, for there will be
fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord” (v.42,43,45).
Why is this relationship important to us today?
Firstly, Elizabeth was an older mentor to Mary. She was a source of encouragement, wisdom and
perspective. All of us need an older, wiser believer who loves Jesus and helps us to grow into maturity
while investing into our lives. That someone needs to challenge, guide and teach us. Secondly,
Elizabeth also received a blessing by receiving Mary into her home. Mary formed part of the
confirmation of God’s plan in the lives of Zachariah and Elizabeth. Both of these women were willingly
obedient to God’s will for their lives and received the necessary guidance and support in each other.
As we celebrated Mother’s Day, we give thanks to all the mothers who have invested into the lives of
their children and grandchildren. But we also pray that God will help us to stay lifelong students and
be mentors to others. Take some time during this time to examine who is investing in your life and in
whose lives, you are investing in.

Download this article