When Mary visited Elizabeth, there was a stirring within the old woman’s womb. “The babe leaped for joy.” Pregnant women feel movements as the unborn turns inside them and expectant fathers watch with awe when they see the ripple of the mother’s layers of skin as the child inside moves. But the baby to be known as John did more than move. He leaped!
Elizabeth was quick to express her feelings, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” She recognized that her young relative had been favored by God, just as she, too, had been blessed with miraculous conception. Yet Elizabeth realized that there was an even greater significance to the child in Mary’s womb. She recognized that Mary was “the mother of my Lord.”
Luke’s telling of this story immediately follows with the Magnificat, Mary’s song, which became one of the chief canticles of the Christian Church. In truth, it is the greatest lullaby.
In four stanzas, the Magnificat includes themes of submission, the character of God, the uplifting of the poor and downtrodden, and the promises to Israel. It was a heady song for babies within two mothers’ wombs. One would foretell the coming of the long-awaited Messiah. The other was the Messiah.
In our time there are expectant mothers who play soothing music, often classical pieces, with the idea that the fetus can be affected by the sounds. Mary’s lullaby – reflective of her great trust and faith – was sung for two babies waiting to be born, waiting for their great place in the story of God’s redemption for humankind.