Luke 1:56. Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
If you’re hitting the road, I’ve found that the best time to drive all year long is Christmas morning. There are very few people on the roads, and I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a single aggressive driver (or cop, for that matter). The only thing is, if you’re in need of lunch or a few munchies, you’re out of luck. You may stumble upon some day-old gas station pizza or Roy Rogers at the travel plaza, but that’s about it. But the rest of the ride is almost guaranteed to be smooth—especially singing along with your Christmas carol playlist. Especially with presents in tow. Especially anticipating the people you’ll see and the fond times you’ll have once you arrive home.
But going home isn’t always easy.
For Mary, going home wasn’t easy. It meant facing reality. Her much-needed escape to Elisabeth’s house couldn’t last forever, after all; the baby inside her was growing, Joseph was waiting, and all the things she had put off thinking about for those three months would come to pass. Going home meant seeing family that just wouldn’t “get it” or understand her. There would be gossip going on all throughout Nazareth, let alone among people she trusted and loved. Going home meant Mary would begin a rough road she couldn’t begin to fathom. But whether it was an internal or external voice that told her it was time to return, Mary listened. And she went. Because God’s story meant entering into the uncomfortable parts too.
For that’s where God often is.
For you, going home might not be easy. It might not be a smooth ride one bit, and it might be something you’ve put off for months, perhaps years. You may wish you could remain on vacation, remain in the escape-land where you don’t have to face the people who just don’t “get it” or the rough road of pain, suffering, and even death that home represents. But Mary’s story shows us there is a time you, too, must listen to God’s voice and return—for that may be the only place the story can continue, the fear can be faced, the healing can begin.
And it’s where Jesus just may show up.
Are you listening?