4th Sunday of Advent Year C - 20/12/2015 - Gospel: Lk 1: 39-45
A joyful visit
Whenever mum or dad announced that our uncle was visiting us at a particular time, we children were very much looking forward for it. We kept counting down each day and when the actual day arrived we were filled with great joy. We would carry on with our regular schooling schedule, but our mind and heart was more at home than in the classroom. Our uncle often brought with him things that were not available in our area and we enjoyed the gifts with great delight while adults embraced the love of seeing each other. They shared old memories and recounted old times. We were not able to visit him and our cousins more often because the war prevented us from doing so. However, whenever it was possible we would make the trip. On these occasions our cousins would be delighted to meet us and we enjoyed many adventure trips, rock climbing, etc. 

Seeing a person face to face whom we love is a blessing. It brings a deep joy in our hearts. The joy is made visible through actions. In the case of Mary and Elizabeth they were filled with joy and manifested it in actions. The actions of joy are often expressed in unexpected ways. Mary praised God for making her the mother of the Lord and her heart was dancing with joy. Words hidden deep in her heart broke through, praising God. Her words inspired many Christian song writers to create music from what is known as - the Magnificat -  the song of praise. Mary was praising God and made the joy in her heart visible.

After the Annunciation she was in a hurry to pay a visit to her cousin Elizabeth. Because her heart was bursting with joy she needed to share that joy with someone whom she loved and her cousin Elizabeth came to mind.  Seeing each other was a thrill for them. It was not a superficial joy that came from the outside in but real joy that grew from within bursting forth. Elizabeth told Mary that on seeing her, even the unborn child in her womb jumped for joy. The encounter filled Elizabeth with such great joy that she could not keep silent in her heart.  She raised her voice to express the greatness for the moment. The joy was so great that she shouted at the top of her voice and made the event even more joyful.
True love often stays with us for a long time. Mary staying with Elizabeth for three months is the symbol of true love. However every visit has an end and the time came for them to say good bye. Paradoxically saying good bye is not a separation but it is a time of planning for reunion and of hope and promise. They would hope to see together again in the near future. They promised to visit again. They wished each other well and carried with them the memories of the visit. Christmas is a time of Emmanuel - God with us. Jesus comes to visit us. How are we going to make the visit of the baby Jesus to be a joyful visit?