The question mark isn’t in Joyce Rupp’s book (p.33); I’m wondering who she is. (Find the previous entries under the tag: inviting god in.)
Elizabeth in the Bible was the wife of a priest named Zechariah; she was also a cousin of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Elizabeth and Zechariah are called “righteous and blameless” people who walked in all the commandments of the Lord (Luke 1:6). Elizabeth was barren; she was unable to have children (Luke 1:7).
Also described as old, but God gives her a miracle baby because why not. Mary later visits her with her own good news and they have a lady baby party. Well, I’m reading between the lines there.
It is a sign of God’s love and care that he placed these women in the same family. He could have just as easily made them strangers to one another, but, by making them relatives, He gave them mutual comfort and encouragement. Especially for Mary, the experience of being pregnant outside of wedlock must have been frightening and shocking. But God provided Elizabeth as a comforting presence—a trusted and known relation and older woman who was going through a similarly miraculous event (Luke 1:38–45).
Rupp suggests people “look for signs of God’s nearness as we complete Christmas preparations and enter into the joy of the season.” Or, in terms of me the atheist, enjoy having my family around and support from my other loved ones close in the heart if not in person.