This year we are reading the birth narrative of Jesus from the Gospel of Luke - all of the birth narrative in Luke, including Chapter 1. So many folks think the story begins with Chapter 2, "In those days, a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled." Well it doesn't, It begins with the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, relatives of Mary, who are older folks with no children, yet they remain faithful Jews. Zechariah is a priest who is chosen by lot to burn icense in the Temple in Jerusalem - the highest privilege a priest could have. And so Luke's birth narrative begins in the Temple with God speaking (through an angel) to ordinary faithful people, bringing good news. Zechariah and Elizabeth are to have a child who will prepare the way for the Lord of Salvation. And so it comes to pass, Elizabeth is with child.
Sunday we are going to read the part of the story in which God speaks to Mary about bearing Jesus as a child, and Mary's visit to Elizabeth when that pregnency comes to pass. Elizabeth's welcoming is open and transforming. She bestows three blessings, and Mary is transformed. The transformed Mary delivers the Magnificat.