Some brief thoughts:
In recent years I’ve thought more about Mary and her experience as the mother of God. This chapter added some new ideas into that. I really like the idea that Gabriel “suggested” that Mary go to visit Elizabeth. What a relief that must have been to know there was someone she could talk to. Their relationship reminds me that there are so many “older” women that I can be friends with and learn from.
I really appreciate what a great man Joseph must have been. And this blows me away: “Had Judah been a free and independent nation, ruled by her rightful sovereign, Joseph the carpenter would have been her crowned king; and his lawful successor to the throne would have been Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” I love how in the narrative of Christ, everything is so upside down. Like Talmage points out, John’s birth was declared in the Temple, while Jesus’ was declared in a humble little house. He was born to a carpenter who should have been king, in a stable instead of a palace. Everything about His birth was as humble as humanly possible, as unassuming, and small and quiet.
An additional thought inspired by a lesson in church yesterday: We’re told that as we follow Christ we will have a remission of our sins. It’s interesting to me to think of that in terms of a disease- like a cancer patient going into remission. We won’t just be cleansed of our sins, but will be in a state of remission when it comes to sin.