Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Biblical Wednesday's Woman

Have you started shopping for Christmas yet?  Not yet?  What about making your shopping lists?  That's where I find myself.  Last month, I actually began coming up with gift ideas for my children for my parents and others that ask for those ideas.  I have some ideas in my head for the shopping I intend to do, and I hope to make some orders soon so that I will be free come December to enjoy the season!

All this planning, preparing, and dreaming about celebrating the birth of Christ has me thinking about the biblical account.  I can't help thinking about Mary receiving word from Gabriel that she would conceive the Son of God by means of the Holy Spirit.  How appropriate that she would run to the other woman Gabriel mentioned, her older cousin Elizabeth!

Not much is said about the time the two women had together, but Elizabeth does encourage younger Mary's heart telling her, "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!  She who has believed is blessed because what was spoken to her by the Lord will be fulfilled!" (Luke 1:43-45).

Now, we had already seen the obedience of Mary's heart as she said to Gabriel (in verse 38), "I am the Lord's slave...May it be done to me according to your word," but I can only imagine Mary needed the encouragement from Elizabeth.  Many a time in my own life, I have set my heel, determined in my heart, and committed to the Lord something, but have found that at just the time I've needed it most, God has sent me word by way of an older woman to encourage me.  That's what I believe Elizabeth must have been like to Mary.  

Verse 56 tells us that Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months before returning home.  The birth of John comes just after that.  Even though Mary missed the birth, I'm sure the ladies enjoyed being pregnant at the same time.  It is such a fun thing to have overlapping pregnancies with a friend or family member.  The anticipation of multiple lives is a joyous time.  I was one of four teachers in my school at the time expecting babies during my pregnancy with my first child.  Another friend living in the same apartment complex had her first child just three months later.  My brother and his wife had their first child just nine days before my son was born, and I was also able to share that time of pregnancy with a friend at church.  If a younger woman is soon to become a mother, whether by natural birth or through adoption, she does well to look to older women who've gone through the joys and trials of early motherhood to have someone to pray with and share in her own new adventure.

I know many of you are just sick that Christmas decor is already out in the stores, and many of you just want to enjoy Thanksgiving first.  I'm right there with you, but God can use these times to help us to focus on the details of the birth of the long awaited Savior.  I'm thankful that God gave us the example of Elizabeth!

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