When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the infant leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cried out in a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb."
Most of us would be disappointed if we missed Christmas. We have memories of a joyous time with our immediate family, relatives, and holiday excitement. The house is decorated, the tree is beautiful, stockings are overflowing with treats and presents abound. But for whatever reason you missed it. It can be deflating. On this fourth Sunday of Advent, Luke's Gospel shares the account of Mary, after encountering the angel Gabriel, visiting her relative, Elizabeth. Elizabeth is pregnant with John the Baptist, while Mary is carrying Jesus in her womb. When Elizabeth greets Mary, the unborn child, John leaps for joy. Immediately Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit, cries out "blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb." I would imagine most women would have taken a seat and said, "boy is this little one excited!" John, born without sin, was so excited about his savior's presence that he couldn't contain himself. He wanted to leap right out. He didn't want to miss the coming of the savior Jesus. We don't know much about John's upbringing, but we know that he was raised in a religious home, and that he knew the savior of the world would someday make his presence known. Many of us have events in our lives that we don't want to miss. Some are bigger than others. A child's first steps, their first day of school, their graduation day, their wedding. Remember a couple of years ago when the solar eclipse was seen across the country. Many people stopped what they were doing to rush out and see it. But sometimes things get in the way and we become distracted, so much so that we miss the big occasion. Sometimes its priorities, sometimes we just forget. Christmas is almost here, and one of the most distracting things about the season and it's secularization is all of the planning and making things "just right." When you go to church this weekend, instead of thinking about the food prep, entertaining the family or putting presents together, focus on Jesus and his gift to you. Don't get caught up in the minutia of things being perfect. If you do, you might just miss the entire reason for the season.