Visits, gifts, greeting cards ( now by email) are a good part of the holiday experience. How can we love everyone all at once? I don’t know.
But Luke’s gospel makes visiting a part of the Christmas mystery. Mary goes into the hill country to visit her cousin Elisabeth after she hears the angel’s message. They meet, not just to trade family news and pass the time together, but they share faith.
They’re two believers who reveal to each other the mystery hidden within them in their unborn children. And they rejoice in their common gift.
We gather with others at Christmas time; people of faith, believers in a mystery we do not see. At Christmas, believers meet, believers to a degree.
More than we know, we’re signs to each other, like the bread and wine, sometimes hardly evident. In his commentary today on the gospel of the visitation, St. Ambrose says we’re like Mary and Elizabeth; “Every soul that believes–that soul both conceives and gives birth to the Word of God and recognizes his works.”
So we visit and give our gift.