39 In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, 40 and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, 42 and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be[a] a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
Luke doesn’t tell us why pregnant Mary goes with haste to visit her cousin Elizabeth. It’s likely that her recent miraculous conception hadn’t been met with universal celebration in her community. Getting away from Nazareth by visiting her relative could have been for Mary’s own protection. In any case, Mary visits Elizabeth, who has herself miraculously conceived. Mary finds only encouragement from her cousin. Elizabeth’s baby leaps in the womb (which can’t have been comfortable!). Elizabeth herself is filled with God’s spirit and exclaims with a loud cry “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!…And blessed is she who believed that there would be[a] a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
This short episode highlights once again that the central characters in the Christmas story are not the rich and powerful, but ordinary people who believe in God.