Friday, December 6, 2013

Who Is Your Elizabeth?

Luke 1:35-45 The angel answered, "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. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God." "I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. " May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. 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 what the Lord as said to her will be accomplished!"

I can't tell you how many times I have read this passage from Luke this Christmas season. Each time that I read these precious words I am filled with such wonder and awe at our Lord's grace and mercy upon Mary and Elizabeth. There are so many thoughts that enter my heart and mind. I think about the times that Mary might have felt so very alone and scared. The times of trying to explain her circumstance to her family and to Joseph, who she was betrothed to, had to be very hard and difficult for her.

 In Matthew 1:19 is says, "Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly." Back in those times, being betrothed was more binding than being engaged is today. It was as if they were married but for a years time, they were not living together or spending private times together. I also wonder if there were "looks" from the neighbors and towns people? Did she experience scorn as she would walk through her town? Their customs were so very different that ours today, I can't imagine what she must have gone through. The journey that Mary took from Nazareth to the hill country of Judea probably took three to five days, depending on where Marys home was located. Can you just imagine her traveling with a caravan (for safety reasons) for those days, all the while, pondering over her situation and future. I can imagine all of the questions she must have had about the coming months and years.

 I believe that Mary being able to join Elizabeth at this time was a blesssing from God and it showed God's great love and care for this young woman who was carrying the Son of God! The greeting that Elizabeth gave Mary had to of been like a soothing balm to Marys spirit and heart. Leaving family, Joseph and the scorn of the townspeople and entering into a home that was also experiencing a great miracle must have been such a joy! I love Elizabeth's words and affirmation of who Mary was and who she was carrying..."Blessed are you amoung women and blessed is the child you will bear!". These were words that melted away the fears and apprehension of this teenager, words that confirmed what the angel had told her and words that took away any doubt of what was to be! If you read further on you will see that Mary was blessed enough to stay with Elizabeth for 3 months, which means she was with Elizabeth for the birth of Elizabeth's own child...the forerunner for Jesus....John the Baptist. I'm thinking that being able to be with this older woman and to ask her questions about child birthing and other areas of concern had to have been a great help. 

Yes....God's grace and mercy flowed upon this woman Mary as she prepared for the many long years that were ahead of her. So, who are the "Elizabeths" in your life? Who has God brought into your life that has spoken words of affirmation and words that have brought a sense that you are on the right track? Who has God allowed to help you in times of difficulties and fears?

The God of Mary is the very same God who loves us enough to bring people into our lives to help us with the seasons of uncertainty and pain. I thank God for all of the "Elizabeths" that He has brought to me throughout my life. Look for them....they are there....and thank God for His love and care!

(Re-posted from my archive Dec. 2009)