By Ann Boyd

Advent at The Well: Joy

"What causes me to rejoice?"

We've cultivated a tradition of time for peace with God during Advent here at The Well. This year, we're offering four short audio devotionals, one for each week of Advent. Each of these special episodes will include a collection of prayers, poetry, Scripture, and music — all things that you can take with you through your day and week. You can also download a pdf of the readings for each episode, and if you've missed any, you can find all the episodes on this page.

We're so glad you could join us here for our third week of Advent as we meditate on the joyful meeting of Mary and Elizabeth. We hope this audio resource can provide you with a few moments of rest and reflection in this busy time of year. 

— Ann Boyd

You can listen on iTunes or at All Shall Be Well: Conversations with Women in the Academy and Beyond. We hope you enjoy this audio meditation.

Readings from this Advent Meditation:

Luke 1.39-56 (New International Version)

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. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

And Mary said:
“My soul glorifies the Lord
    and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
    for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

“Elizabeth encounters Mary” from The Chester Cycle (15th century)


Mary, bless-ed shalt thou be,
And the fruit that comes of thee
Among women all.
Wonderly now marvels me
That Mary, Goddes Mother free
Greets me thus in simplicity
Lord, how may this befall?
When thou didst greet me, sweet Mary
The child stirred in my body
For great joy of thy company
And the fruit that is in thee.
Bless-ed be thou ever and aye
That lived so well and steadfastly,
For what was said to thee, lady,
Fulfilled and done shall be.


Elizabeth, therefore will I
Thank the Lord, King of mercy
With joyful mirth and melody
And laud to his liking:
“Magnificat” while I have to me,
“Anima mea dominum”
To Christ that in my kind is come,
Devoutly will I sing.

A Breath Prayer.

Grant to me, God
A spirit of rejoicing.

“Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming”
German carol, 17th century

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming
    from tender stem hath sprung!
Of Jesse’s lineage coming,
    as saints of old have sung.
It came, a floweret bright,
Amid the cold of winter
    when half spent was the night.

Isaiah ’twas foretold it
    the Rose I have in mind;
With Mary we behold it,
    the virgin mother kind.
To show God’s love aright,
She bore to us a Savior
    when half spent was the night.

This Flower, whose fragrance tender
    with sweetness fills the air,
Dispels with glorious splendor
    the darkness everywhere;
True Man, yet very God,
From sin and death He saves us
    and lightens every load.

An Advent Benediction

Christ the Sun of Righteousness shine upon you, scatter the darkness from before your path, and make you ready to meet him when he comes in glory; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you, upon those whom you love, and those whom you would pray for today and always. Amen.


Photo by Steve Halama at StockSnap

About the Author

Ann is the Women Scholars and Professionals Podcast host and the interim editor for The Well. She has worked for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship since 1997, exploring her interests in community, spiritual formation, and writing. Ann has a BM in Music Education from Northwestern University and lives in Chicago, Illinois with one husband, two spunky teenage daughters, and three snuggly cats. You’ll often find Ann baking sweet treats in the kitchen while listening to a podcast or audiobook.

Comment via Facebook