Reading the birth story of Jesus recorded in the Gospel of
Luke is a tradition and treasure every year at Christmas. Something new stands out and squeezes my
heart like a big hug each time. This
morning the warm embrace comes from Elizabeth, the elder cousin of Mary the
mother of Jesus, as she speaks a blessing to us all.
The relationship between Elizabeth and Mary was
special. Both women carrying within them
a miracle child given to them by God.
Elizabeth, a barren elderly woman, was pregnant with a great prophet,
while Mary carried the Son of God.
Expecting these sacred babies together must have been the delight of
their days! In public they would have
been chastised, but in the safety of Elizabeth’s home, the laughter was free to
Elizabeth blessed Mary at their greeting. The scriptures tell us that the infant in her
womb leapt at the presence of Christ and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy
Spirit (Luke 1:41). Loudly she exclaims
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke
Remembering the joy of my own pregnancies and sharing the
common excitement with pregnant friends and sisters is something I treasure,
but these two women held the anticipation of the Messiah in them! That’s expectancy on another level!
Yet as the scene plays out on the pages of the Gospel,
Elizabeth, as if turning full front to her audience, says something special to
“And blessed is
she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her
from the Lord.” (Luke 1:45 ESV).
Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth speaks a blessing to
each of us listening:
Our happiness comes in believing God is at work
accomplishing what He promised!
The J.B. Phillips New Testament translates this same verse
in these words:
“Oh, how happy is the woman who believes in God, for he does
make his promises to her come true.”
Historically and culturally, women have been socialized to believe
that their dreams are coming true when they become mothers. But that is not the excitement that Elizabeth
and Mary share here. The joy that they
share is that God is at work in the world.
When we look all the way back to the garden of Eden, Eve did not
believe that God was true to His word.
So, she went against the word of God.
Mary, in contrast, heard the words of God and believed in Him, responding
with a humble yes, sir.
When looking at the original Greek of Elizabeth’s proclamation,
the words translated into English “she” and “her” have no specific sexual
orientation. The Greek words could just
as easily have been written:
blessed is the one who believed that there would be a fulfillment of
what was spoken to them from the Lord.
It doesn’t matter, male nor female, this blessing applies to
all. Our belief that God is doing what
He has promised is the gift that brings us joy!
This is the big hug of Christmas, this time spoken through
Elizabeth. Jesus was born, a fulfillment
of God’s word. And Christ followed
through with the hard work of death and resurrection, so that we could be one
Daily we each have this choice...do I believe that God is at
work when it seems He’s absent?
Friend, every voice of the Bible implores with us...partake of God’s
been writing and teaching biblically based curriculum, Bible studies, and
devotionals since 2007.
had the unique position of writing curriculum and teaching for two private,
Christ-based, residential recovery programs. Both programs primarily served
women in the homeless community.
traveled multiple times to Kenya, serving on medical teams and teaching in the
rural Maasai communities. She’s been privileged to speak in Leadership camps intended
on encouraging and empowering the impoverished, underprivileged, and often
abused young women.
these ministries, Sharon has witnessed the transformative power of loving words
spoken to the broken-hearted. Sharing God’s love and witnessing its
transformative power has become her passion.
her husband, divide their time between Oregon and Hawaii. They have two grown
Sharon is encouraging others via her inspirational blog, but prefers sharing
face to face. Additionally, she is working towards a degree in Ministry.