Mary, Elizabeth, and the Ultimate Christmas Gift

Luke 1:39-56 CSB “In those days Mary set out and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judah where she entered Zechariah’s house and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped inside her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Then she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and your child will be blessed! How could this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For you see, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped for joy inside me. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill what he has spoken to her!” And Mary said: My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, because he has looked with favor on the humble condition of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed, because the Mighty One has done great things for me, and his name is holy. His mercy is from generation to generation on those who fear him. He has done a mighty deed with his arm; he has scattered the proud because of the thoughts of their hearts; he has toppled the mighty from their thrones and exalted the lowly. He has satisfied the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, remembering his mercy to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he spoke to our ancestors. And Mary stayed with her about three months; then she returned to her home.”

Nothing is said in the Bible about John or Jesu’s childhood, outside of the incident in the Temple when Jesus was twelve. Nothing much is said about Mary and Elizabeth’s visit and there is no need to speculate past what is written in the text because it is pretty exciting even with little detail.

The first thing I notice is John the Baptist leaping in the womb when Elizabeth hears Mary’s voice. That is just one of the coolest things to me, that John leaped in the womb tells us just how alive babies are. The next thing we read is Elizabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit! At this time the Holy Spirit has only rested on a few individuals for a specified time period, here Elizabeth is FILLED with the Spirit long before the day of Pentecost. Three verses in to the passage and we’re already seeing amazing things. That’s what I love about the Christmas story and all of the Bible, we see God working in the extraordinary and the ordinary from beginning of the Bible all the way to the end. One of my favorite Old Testament stories is Esther. It’s the only book where God is not mentioned, yet, we can see Him working all throughout the book.

So many times we can fall into the trap of needing a sign or for someone to confirm something when all we really need to do is trust God. Remember Mary’s response to the Angel? Absolute trust and after the story of Jesus birth we see no more angelic guidance in their life and they weren’t looking for it. Angels ministered to Jesus after His being tempted in the wilderness but that’s the only time we see them show up for Him.

Mary and Elizabeth had the most extraordinary event in human history happen to them yet, look how normal their lives were and look at the simplicity of Mary’s praise. Instead of looking for a sign or waiting for something spectacular; pray, read your Bible, trust God and be at peace.

We have seen many spectacular things in the last five days and we will see many more over the next week as we continue looking at the Christmas story. But remember, as spectacular as the Birth of Jesus is, the ultimate purpose of His birth was His death and resurrection. The purpose of the life of Jesus was so that redemption could be accomplished and applied to us. Every spectacular thing in the Old Testament pointed forward to Jesus. Every miracle and sign Jesus did was to validate his fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. Every miracle in the book of Acts was to validate the message of Jesus.

Romans 5:6-11 CSB “For while we were still helpless, at the right time, Christ died for the ungodly. For rarely will someone die for a just person — though for a good person perhaps someone might even dare to die. But God proves his own love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. How much more then, since we have now been justified by his blood, will we be saved through him from wrath. For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, then how much more, having been reconciled, will we be saved by his life. And not only that, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received this reconciliation.”

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