Let’s take a moment to study two very different biblical sisters in Luke 1:
Elizabeth Pregnant with John the Baptist
Elizabeth (well along in years) became pregnant (with John the Baptist) and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” (v. 24-25)
How would you feel if you became pregnant long after child-bearing years? Would you be joyful?
Mary and the Birth of Jesus Foretold
(v. 26-38) In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
How do you think you’d react if an angel appeared to you? Would you feel blessed or be worried you were crazy?
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 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 Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on 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. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
Do you find these words comforting? Can you imagine being the mother of GOD?
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 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. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Wow! Even before he was born, John the Baptist announced the arrival of Jesus. The Holy Spirit came upon both of these women to proclaim our Lord’s arrival. Incredible biblical women!
I love reading these passages at least once a year before Christmas to remember that Jesus is the greatest gift. Tonight our church has a blue Christmas service for anyone who is grieving or sad during the holidays. If even the mother of our savior was troubled during this time, then it must be okay for us to have questions and fears as we await his return. These verses remind me that God has a plan, the Lord will fulfill his promises and his kingdom will reign forever. Amen