Christmas – Elizabeth Receives a Visitor

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

Meanwhile, back to Elizabeth…

Tradition says that Elizabeth had a sister in Nazareth named Anna. In Elizabeth’s sixth month, she heard the story of her sister’s daughter (Mary) and the special baby she was carrying. Mary, likewise, heard about Elizabeth from the angel, Gabriel, and decided to travel to Elizabeth’s house where she might find comfort and safety from public tongues wagging.

Mary entered Elizabeth’s house and called out a greeting.

When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:41

Elizabeth had yet another affirmation of how God had set apart her own child and blessed Mary’s child with holiness.

In a loud voice she exclaimed, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.” Luke 1:42-44

Notice, a loud voice! Elizabeth was overwhelmed with excitement and filled with the Holy Spirit.

Another important factor was that Elizabeth recognized that Mary believed what the angel told her. Elizabeth said,

“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.” Luke 1:45

I had not keyed in with this verse before. Elizabeth had been reminded, for six months so far, about Zechariah’s doubting attitude. He still couldn’t talk. So it made an impression on Elizabeth that Mary readily believed the angel. 

Both women were filled to the brim with emotion and the spirit of God. Mary began her praise;

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant…” Luke 1:46-47

Mary stayed on until Elizabeth gave birth. Her neighbors and relatives shared in her joy.  On the eighth day, it was time for the circumcision ceremony and the naming of the child. Elizabeth told the officials that he was to be named “John.” Oh, but this was not traditional. After all, there were no relatives named “John.” So they went to Zechariah to get the straight of it. But remember, he could not talk. They made signs to him to try to communicate. Finally, he called for a writing tablet and declared,

“His name is John.” Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God. Luke 1:63

In fact he was so filled with the Spirit that he began to prophesy in a twelve-verse song of praise. It became quite evident that he did hear the rest of the angel’s declaration six months earlier and understood, at least in part, the destiny of this special son. (Luke 1:67-79)

The neighbors were filled with awe and told about it all over the hill country of Judea. Their burning question was,

“What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him. Luke 1:66

We, too, stand in awe of the great things God can do with simple people like Elizabeth, Zechariah, and Mary. It is a reminder that He can use even the likes of us to accomplish His purposes, great or small, if we believe and are willing. Amazing, isn’t it?

~ Joyce ~

Christmas – Gabriel Is Busy Again

Searching His Word   Seeking His Heart

Searching His Word
Seeking His Heart

Zechariah returned home from his dramatic incident at the Temple in Jerusalem. Since he was now speechless, he had to gesture to his wife and write his amazing news.

Sure enough, Elizabeth conceived in her old age and declared,

“The Lord has done this for me. In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people. Luke 1:25

Like Sarah and Hannah of old, it was a disgrace not to bear children. She rejoiced to feel this life inside her body. Talk about a God-incident!

When Elizabeth reached her sixth month, the Lord had another special job for the angel, Gabriel.

In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Luke 1:26-28

Like Zechariah, Mary was also  fearful and startled by this sudden appearance and these words. Gabriel said to her,

“Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.” Luke 1:30-31

My guess again is that she, like Zechariah, stopped listening at this point. but Gabriel proceeded.

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.” Luke 1:32-33

Thinking in practical terms, Mary asked,

“How will this be since I am a virgin?” Luke 1:34

I told you her mind had stopped on “You will have a child.” Somehow her demeanor and her tone did not have the same kind of skepticism that Gabriel heard from Zechariah. Gabriel gently explained,

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Luke 1:35

Even if Mary can’t quite take in the magnitude of these words, she must have had a willing spirit. Perhaps she began to ponder, what about Joseph? What will the people say? How do I explain this to mama and papa? Gabriel seems to know her anxiety and gave her comforting news about someone who could identify with her.

“Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a baby in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”

Ah, there is our thought again. “Nothing is impossible with God!” What a mixture of feelings and thoughts Mary must have had.

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. Luke 1:36-38

I wonder how she told her mother about this. Did her mother believe her?

And then there is the unbelievable story about Elizabeth, her relative. At some point the decision was made that Mary and maybe her mother would make a trip to Elizabeth’s.

Isn’t it wonderful how God gives us special people in our lives? People to whom we want to go when our world turns upside down—someone to advise or simply be a listener and comforter.

Is there someone who is special to you? Would this be a good time to tell them how you appreciate them? What better time than Christmas to write them a note, give them a personal gift, take them out to eat—someway to express your love for them.

~ Joyce ~