"Mary remained with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her home." (Lk 1:56)
Time is a precious gift and often our most important asset. Most of us have been trained since childhood to use time well, to be well organized, to be on time and to give our time to others whenever possible. On the other hand, sometimes we hoard our time and make ourselves emotionally unavailable to people who need us to be present to them, especially in their confusion and anxiety.
Thank God, Mary was not like this. Luke reminds us that when Mary visited Elizabeth it was not for a few hours or days, but for "about three months." Somehow Mary was able to put her own needs aside to attend to the cares of her older relative who was pregnant for the first time, and in her compassion becomes a model for all of us.
Too often in North America, time is a commodity which we buy and sell, not a gift of God that allows us to share the Good News with our contemporaries. As Christmas nears, it would be good for all of us to give ourselves and others the gift of time, freely and without counting the cost. No doubt this is the best gift we could give to ourselves and others as we await the birth of the savior.
Today, stop, reflect, and pray quietly for the grace to give your time to others as a gift.
Who gave you time freely when you really needed help?