Leaps and Lyrics

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women,and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior …

-Luke 1:39-47

In what could have been a scene from a first century musical, baby John leaps for joy and Mary sings. These are two reactions to the coming of the Savior.

Mary, fresh from receiving the message from the angel Gabriel that she will give birth to the Savior, hurries to see her relative Elizabeth who is now six months pregnant.   When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby John leaped in Elizabeth’s womb.  To ponder how a child can leap for joy at the sound of Mary’s voice is to miss the beauty of this passage. The point of the passage is that Jesus, the Savior of the world, is greeted with a jump for joy.

Mary, overflowing with gratitude, bursts into song.  Mary’s tune begins on a note of personal salvation as she acknowledges her dependence on God. She then refers to her lowly social position and mentions that she is a servant to God. From there she speaks of the Mighty One who has done great things for her. She then speaks of God lifting up the humble, feeding the hungry, and helping the nation of Israel.

From this passage we see Christmas celebrated in its earliest and simplest form: leaps and lyrics. By today’s standards it just doesn’t look like a Christmas celebration at all. There is no gift exchange. Dad does not get a tie. The children are not handed the latest gaming system. There are no Christmas decorations. No one has spent the night on the roof of the house stapling lights. There is not a plastic Santa Claus sitting in the front yard. The Christmas Story or National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation is not playing on the TV set.

Leaps and Lyrics. Just leaps and lyrics. And that seemed to be just fine.

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