Sunday, December 24, 2023

God’s Blessing To All By Sharon Musgrove @devotional


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 flow.


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 1:42 ESV).


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 us all.


“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:


And 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 with God. 


Daily we each have this 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 blessing...believe! 


 Author Bio:


Sharon has been writing and teaching biblically based curriculum, Bible studies, and devotionals since 2007.    


She has 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.


Sharon has 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.


Within 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.


Sharon and her husband, divide their time between Oregon and Hawaii. They have two grown children. 


Currently, Sharon is encouraging others via her inspirational blog, but prefers sharing face to face. Additionally, she is working towards a degree in Ministry. 



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