"This is the real commitment of Advent: to bring joy to others. Joy is the true gift of Christmas." --Pope Benedict XVI
At the root of today's gospel is joy--which is one of the fruits of the holy Spirit. Joy permeates this story. Joy is most notably in the heart of our Lady who not only travels to visit her cousin Elizabeth, but makes haste in the effort. Joy is also experienced by the babies in the womb, tumbling about in the darkness, as they hear the dialogue of their mothers and sense each other near.
Joy comes from Love, and God is love. Thus, the more we are united with him, the more joyful we will be, even in the midst of dark times. The joy of the Trinity goes beyond the fleeting joys of this world, beyond the gifts we give and receive for Christmas, and remains in the heart until the soul is drawn up to Jesus in the heavenly court. Today we pray for this joy, and we pray that all mankind will feel it in the complete gift of self. In this way, we too can mirror the joy of Mary and Elizabeth and rejoice that we have a Lord who will be with us forever.