Detail from a stained-class window in St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral in Edinburgh, of Mary.

Mary: Hi! Are you on the way to the hill country, too? I’m going to the hill country. I'm on my way to see my cousin Elizabeth. I can’t wait to tell her what happened: the Angel Gabriel came to me and said that I’m going to have a baby, and that I should name him Jesus. The angel said, “He will be great, and he will be called the Son of the Most High.” I said, “Sign me up!” Gabriel told me that Elizabeth is pregnant with a child who is going to grow up to change the world, so I had to rush right up here. Oh, look, we’re at Elizabeth’s house. Yoo-hoo! Elizabeth! It’s me, your cousin Mary.

Elizabeth: Mary, It’s so great to see you! Whoops! The baby just jumped for joy at the sound of your voice. Look at you. Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the baby you are carrying. It feels special that the mother of the child who will grow up to be our leader is coming to visit me.

Mary: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God. God has looked with favor on me. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed, for God has done great things for me.

Elizabeth: God has answered our prayers. At last, Zechariah and I will have a child. This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me. My husband wrote that the Angel Gabriel told him that our son John will be filled with the Holy Spirit. John will turn people toward God, turn parents toward their children, turn those who have strayed toward making amends, and make ready a people prepared for God.

Mary: Listen, Elizabeth, God’s mercy is for those who have awe, from generation to generation. God has shown strength, scattering the proud. God has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly. God has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. God has remembered the people.

Elizabeth: Mary, when you say God has brought down the powerful, do you mean metaphorically, or that they have come down in the polls, or that they tripped over their bags of money, or what?

Mary: The time of justice and equality is upon us, Elizabeth. God has already accomplished this. It may take some time for the people to see it, but it is happening. Nobody expected much from you and me. We are not queens. Some people might think you are getting on in years, or that I am too young to make a difference. Yet God chose us to bring something new into the world.

Elizabeth: I waited a long time for change. I thought I was waiting for mercy or righteousness or kindness. Justice, equality, and compassion have been there all along, waiting for the people to catch up.

Mary: Sometimes waiting is about seeing and hearing and feeling what other people aren’t yet ready to understand.

Elizabeth: I expect to have three more months before John is born. That’s three months to grow this child and strengthen my resolve before the rest of the world can hope for what you and I already know. Stay with me. Let’s ponder these things together.

Mary: I would love to live here for three months. What will Zechariah say?

Elizabeth: Zechariah won’t say a thing. Not a word. God made him silent, and he’ll stay that way until after John is born. It’s been very quiet around here. That’s been kind of nice. Now that you are here, let’s keep each other company.

Mary: I will stay. We have so much to talk about.