After Mary’s encounter with the messenger Gabriel, she travelled to be with her relative Elizabeth. When Mary greeted Elizabeth, Luke notes that “the child leaped in (Elizabeth’s) womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit” (Luke 1.41, CEB).

Then Elizabeth said …

God has blessed you above all women, and he has blessed the child you carry. Why do I have this honor, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. Happy is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill the promises he made to her.

Often, when we think of being blessed, we think of what we have—homes, jobs, health, and money. But for Mary, being blessed was about being part of God’s plan. Rather than focusing on what she had, Mary wanted to be used by God for God’s purposes.

But being part of God’s plan is not always easy. In fact, a bit later in the story, shortly after the birth of Jesus, a man named Simeon met Joseph, Mary, and baby Jesus at the temple. After his blessing, Simeon added …

This boy is assigned to be the cause of the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that generates opposition so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your innermost being too.

It’s hard to talk about being blessed and being pierced by a sword at the same time. There must have been times when Mary didn’t feel “blessed” in the way we think of it, whether it was when she was fleeing from King Herod, living as a fugitive in Egypt, or decades later, watching her boy be nailed to a across). But in reality, Mary was truly blessed because she was part of God’s plan!

Are you blessed?

This post is part of the Common English Bible Tour.

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