Devotion for December 20th

Luke 1:39-45; 56-58

Carmelle Beaugelin

Mary and Elizabeth have found in each other a sisterhood amid their precarious and unusual circumstances. An older Elizabeth (perhaps losing hope of ever nursing a child at the loss of her monthly cycle) welcomes a young Mary (pledged to be wed at the first sign of her cycle, yet seemingly pregnant before she has even wed). Despite their difference in age, the two cousins find comfort in each other in the midst of the unconventional timing of their expanding families. All along, as the two women whisper together of the growing promises hidden in their wombs and unconventional lives, Mary and Elizabeth themselves are cradled by the guiding arms of the God who moves them beyond cousins into sisterhood.

Reminiscent of Haitian folk art figures, Mary and Elizabeth are portrayed wearing traditional Afro-Caribbean style headdresses as their silhouettes face one another in a stoic greeting. For new Haitian mothers, a tradition of preparing sacred tea leaves, as well as postpartum herbal baths, offers solidarity between the more seasoned women and a new mother. Often—as displayed by the relationship between the two women in this story—grandmothers, cousins, and other close female community members act as surrogates in this sacred practice for those who have been displaced from their own families.

The Golden Cradle expands on the imagery of Mary’s golden “yes” to her call, meeting Elizabeth’s “yes” to a holy birth of her own. In their meeting, the promises they carry leap for joy at this first encounter, offering us a picture of the kind of communal solidarity we often find along the journey of the unfolding story of God in our own lives. Even in moments of isolation, we often encounter surrogates who step in with divine provision when we need it the most.


Breathe deeply as you gaze upon the image on the left. Imagine placing yourself in this scene. What do you see? How do you feel? Get quiet and still, offering a silent or spoken prayer to God.

Read more about the Sanctified Art creative team and guest contributors who compiled this year’s devotionals.