A Greeting of Joy
A Greeting of Joy
It was a feeling of amazement and joy that I hadn’t expected. It was almost a little eerie or otherworldly. It was something close to miraculous. It was the experience of feeling our first baby kicking inside the womb. My wife gave me the heads up that it was happening then gave me the permission and encouragement to touch her swollen belly by placing my hand over the area where the baby was kicking. I had seen the ultra sound so I knew our child was growing inside the womb, but to actually feel the baby rolling and moving and pushing outward made it all seem more real in an undeniable way.
I was thinking of this experience of feeling our baby kick as I read the story in the book of Luke from the Bible about how the baby inside Elizabeth leapt for joy when Mary came to visit. The boy would come to be known as John the Baptist and he would prepare the way for his cousin Jesus, but here he is still in the womb seemingly jumping with excitement because Mary has come.
Did John somehow know who Jesus was even before they had been born? Was there some kind of mystical connection that caused him to react as a sign that the child Mary carried was a special child of God? Whatever it was Elizabeth felt it and she named it as joy and that joy came flooding out in her greeting of Mary which then gave Mary confidence and an assurance that things were going to be alright as she carried the baby Jesus and looked towards becoming a new mother.
When was the last time someone greeted you with such joy? When was the last time someone’s eyes lit up, their smile widen and their arms opened in a welcoming embrace? What does it feel like when someone greets you in this way? What does it feel like when someone is so happy to see you? What would it mean for us to extend a greeting like that to someone else? Could we give joy to someone else by showing such an enthusiastic welcome?
-Pastor Erik Goehner