Hospitality For Such a Time as This

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth… Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
Luke 1:39-40,56

A teenaged relative shows up on your doorstep unannounced, and she’s unmarried and pregnant. What to do? Elizabeth has the answer—welcome her, bless her, encourage her, then offer your home as hers for as long as needed!

We have often heard the story of Elizabeth’s prophetic greeting and the baby John “leaping in her womb.” How wonderful Elizabeth’s prophetic words must have been to this young woman still pondering an astounding message from an amazing angel messenger! Elizabeth’s words confirmed Gabriel’s—Elizabeth herself was with child and Mary was to be the mother of the Savior of the world! Mary responded with the exuberant song of praise we still sing today!

We don’t often focus on Elizabeth’s generous hospitality. Three months! That’s a long time to shelter and care for a young woman in her first, perhaps rocky, months of pregnancy while in the last trimester of your own geriatric pregnancy. This time also gave the much older Elizabeth the opportunity to spiritually mentor this young mother, to build her up before she had to face a confused Joseph, possibly judgmental family and friends, a long journey to Bethlehem, a less than normal birth experience, a flight to Egypt… What a sanctuary God provided for Mary!

Elizabeth’s abundant hospitality was unplanned and Spirit-led, a definite blessing for Mary and an example for us. How can we be an Elizabeth to the Marys around us? In normal times, hospitality sounds like welcoming family to your home, friendly neighborhood gatherings, hosting sleepovers or holiday dinners. Now everything has changed, and many of these congenial ways must be reconsidered. Are we to abandon all hope of hospitality?

Although hospitality may look different today, there are still many (and perhaps more) ways to serve. Keep your eyes and ears open for unexpected opportunities. Can you host a weekly virtual “dinner” with extended family to uplift and encourage? Can you pack an open-air picnic for friends? Can you drop off a doorstep meal for a family in need? Can you send a card or make a phone call to a lonely senior or sick member from your church? Is there a food bank that needs donations? Is there an international college student who suddenly goes online and needs a home?

Mary may have stayed with Elizabeth until John’s birth. Undoubtedly, Mary not only enjoyed her relative’s kindheartedness, but also proved to be a blessing to her. As we focus on others, not ourselves, we also will be blessed—with a more loving heart, more flexibility, patience, understanding and empathy. And, most importantly, these gifts of hospitality may give us the even greater opportunity to welcome others to God’s heavenly home through his generous gift of Jesus.

Romans 12:13 says, “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” May God give us opportunities, strength, and resources to open our hearts and homes like Elizabeth to a world desperately in need of hospitality!


Dear Lord, thank you for providing Elizabeth’s welcoming home for Mary as she prepared to welcome you to the world! Open our eyes to the many opportunities around us to show hospitality. Please bless our humble efforts. May they serve as pathways to a heavenly welcome through faith in you! Amen.

Written by Ann M. Ponath
Provided by WELS Women’s Ministry

Print Friendly, PDF & Email