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Bible Reading / Twelve Days of Christmas

Day Five


Read: Luke 1:39-45

Shortly after Mary hears from God, she travels to her cousin Elizabeth’s house. Knowing what God has done for Mary, Elizabeth squeals with delight at her arrival and greets her with You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”

Hold up.

I’m sure it is a beautiful scene and all, but this is confusing.

I mean, really, how was Mary blessed by her belief? Her life got harder. Pregnant before marriage, she escaped the scorn of her community at her cousin’s house then she would travel to Bethlehem at full term, run for her life from Herod’s assassins, live a poor life perplexed by her child, and endure widowhood early.

Blessing? Are you sure?

This is how we often think of belief and blessing:

You pray for something + You believe it will happen = You get blessed.


This is the opposite, though, Mary believes and it makes her life harder. Isn’t abiding supposed to be peaceful – trusting God is at the wheel while we’re in the back-seat napping?

Maybe belief is a blessing. What if Elizabeth is saying, “you must be one blessed woman to have faith in the midst of such change.” To believe that God is doing something in the midst of difficulty is a gift – one that most of us find hard to feel at times.

You can’t always get blessed for your belief. If we always got blessed for our beliefs, it wouldn’t be belief anymore. It would become a tool we use to get our way with God. God isn’t manipulated by our belief – He does what He does and we trust He is good. We don’t believe God for the blessing, we believe God because He is good.

That is Mary’s gift. She trusts in the midst of strain. Maybe that’s what’s missing this Christmas - you keep waiting for a reward for your faith when maybe just having it is reward enough. If we always got rewarded for faith, then how is that faith anyway? We all need a bit more ‘Mary’ faith – the blessing of believing without receiving.