This scene is Mary at Elizabeths home....it is purely fictional, much of the play is, but I always find great truths hidden, especially in the music. But in this scene it is definately in the words.
Mary is embroidering swaddling bands for the baby Jesus....( I recently learned that in Jewish custom it is considered bad luck to plan for what sex the baby might be...even though Mary knew it was a boy...it would have been considered inappropriate for her to make anything but swaddling clothes for the baby until it arrived.)
Mary is struggling with the stiches. She says, "It would be easier if I only had to worry about one side, and not about all the threads on the other." (she is talking her about the front side and the back side of the bands)
Elizabeth replies. "First in your marriage, and then in your home, nothing can be hidden. We must try to make everything beautiful front and back, inside and out."
In the scene Elizabeth is implying to Mary that she needs to be honest with Joseph, but there is great application in these simple words.
Wouldn't it be great if we only had to clean up our yards...mow the lawn, trim the grass, keep it weed free and liter free and then everyone would know that we had the perfect house. Even though the inside could be cluttered, destoryed, filthy. We could assume that since what the world "sees" is in order that what is within is in order.
How about the woman who exercises, eats very little, has plastic surgery, designer clothes, and perfectly weaved hair. Inside she could be depressed, lonely, angry, controlling, frightening. We could assume that since what she shows the world is in order that what is within her soul is in order.
How about a book. Nice cover, hardbound, enticing pictures of action and adventure, on the best seller list. Inside it is riddled with swearing, magic, anti-God theme's, anger towards families, or socialist agenda's. We could assume that since the cover shows the world that this is a great book that what is held in it's pages must be.
Okay, I think you get the point. But isn't this exactly what Elizabeth is saying to Mary. We cannot pretend that everything is great and good and perfect and neglect the inside, the hidden parts that are unseen. "We must TRY to make everything beautiful."
Since I have been studying about marriage lately I thought that this was a good reminder for a marriage. If we only worry about the front side and neglect the back side we are not doing our job. For example maybe a wife is really good about keeping the house clean and tidy and making sure all the meals are made, but she neglects her husband and children to do their own things. Maybe a wife is really good at making time for fun and games and lots of bonding time, but the house is in shambles and no one learns to be responsible for themselves. Maybe she is a great cook, but laundry never gets any attention. Maybe a wife is a concert pianist and spends hours of her time playing the piano while neglecting those who need her time and attention. Maybe a wife is a concientious mother who forget she is also a wife. I could go on and on and on....most of these are me btw :)...but I am not a concert pianist.
We must find balance. I hate it when people say that. Because today's balance looks different than tomorrow's balance. Today I may get to read a book for 5 hours. Tomorrow I may get to clean the house. The next day may be reserved for a bit of bondng and a bit of service and a bit of husband and wife time. Each day must find the right amount of balance. We must work on the back and the front; the inside and the out.
I think the most important thing that Elizabeth tells Mary is that nothing can be hidden. This is not an excuse to dump on your husband when he walks in the door so that nothing will be hidden. It just mean that the Lord sees all that we think and feel; and if what we are thinking and feeling and doing is not right before His eyes, or before our eyes then we need to turn to Him. We need to ask Him to help us make it beautiful. The Lord will magnify our weakness in stiching just as He will in temperment, in personality, in desire and in willingness. We can turn to Him to help our work become beautiful.
Elizabeth ends by saying to Mary, "You're ready (to tell Joseph) because you know you need the Lord." We are ready to be made beautiful, and to make beautiful things when we know that the Lord is the only way we can accomplish all the things we need to do in this life, and all the things we want to do.