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Sample: The Day Mary Visited Zechariah and Elizabeth

Katy Morgan | November 11th 2021

The following is a sample from one of the chapters in The Promise and the Light by Katy Morgan. Written as a series of vivid and dramatic first-person accounts, the book tells the stories of Mary, Joseph and Zechariah as they experience the events of the first Christmas.

I did not recognise my niece at first. I had last seen her when she was quite a little girl, and we had had no word of her coming.

So what I saw was an unknown young woman, simply dressed, framed by the feathery green leaves of the dill and cumin plants at the edge of the herb patch. The sunlight fell on her face, which was flushed from the day’s walk and upturned towards Elizabeth, who had risen to greet her.

Elizabeth cried out and clutched her swollen belly, as I had seen her do before when the child kicked or leaped within her. But there was no pain in her face. No, her forehead crinkled in amazement and her blue eyes sparkled like water.

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“Blessed are you among women!” she cried in a loud voice. “Blessed is the child you will bear!”

The young woman gasped and Elizabeth moved towards her to clasp her hands. Her voice was husky with emotion: “But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

I froze. The mother of the Lord?! Six months before I would have scoffed at such words—or been angry at them. As if the Lord God could have a mother! But now... I had changed since the angel’s words to me. I would not scoff. I was ready to believe even impossible things.

Elizabeth reached out a hand towards me, but she was still looking at the young woman. “The baby in my womb leaped for joy,” she explained—yet she seemed more interested in the visitor’s child than her own. “Blessed is she,” she went on, “who has believed that the Lord would fulfil his promises to her.”

What promises? What did the young woman believe? How did Elizabeth know these things? I grasped her hand in astonishment, wondering whether this was really my own familiar wife.

And Mary—for suddenly I realised who the young woman was—shone with smiles.

The song floated out from inside the house, while Elizabeth and I sat together by the herb patch.

“My soul glorifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant."

“From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
holy is his name."

It was our niece, singing while she unpacked her few possessions. The song was of her own invention, it appeared, and she sang it several times.

My heart beat fast to hear those words. It was true: something was happening to Mary—something even more momentous than what was happening to Elizabeth and me. “All generations will call me blessed.” “The mother of the Lord.” It was astonishing.

I frowned, though. She was singing about it as if it were just a private matter, a blessing from God upon just her—but if what Elizabeth had said was correct...

As if Mary could hear my thoughts, at that moment her song changed. It sounded fiercer and bolder now. It sounded like a war song. It sounded like a song that had been sung since the most ancient days.

"Yes, I thought, and I was just as astonished as I had been in the temple: the Lord God had come! And he had come wrapped not in fire, but in flesh."

"His mercy extends to those who fear him,
from generation to generation."

"He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

"He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.

"He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.

"He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants for ever,
just as he promised our ancestors.”

Yes, I thought to myself as I sat there in the sunshine listening, he is a God of justice. A God who rights wrongs and cares for the needy. A God who rules. And he has come himself at last.

Yes, I thought, and I was just as astonished as I had been in the temple: the Lord God had come! And he had come wrapped not in fire, but in flesh.

He had... he had come as a child!

Katy Morgan

Katy Morgan is an Editor at The Good Book Company. She is a member of King's Church Chessington in Surrey, UK, where she lives. She holds a master's degree in classical Greek literature, and previously worked in a ministry role as part of a school chaplaincy.

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