Christmas is a time when we focus on giving gifts. But this year, I’m thinking about giving something specific: Joy.
As I reflect on the story of Christ’s birth this year, I’ve been challenged and encouraged by Elizabeth’s role in the Christmas story. While she isn’t considered a main character at Christmastime, today, I challenge all of us to consider the powerful role she played in the days leading up to Christ’s birth.
First, let’s read Luke 1:39-45: “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!”
I think back to Mary’s calling to carry the Christ child. She faced such opposition, such pain. Such hardship! She must have faced extreme judgement from everyone she knew. Imagine the whispered accusations at her family gatherings. Imagine the judgement and snide comments from “friends.”
“Mary’s sure looking a lot more pregnant than she should given she’s only been married a few months.” “Did you hear Mary said the child inside her is the Son of God? She has totally lost her mind.” “Why did Joseph ever marry that girl? She’s nothing but trouble for him, and he had such a bright future. What a shame…”
So often those that should love us best, seem to love us the least. I’m so comforted by Elizabeth’s friendship to Mary. Luke 1:42 states that when Mary came to visit her, “In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!”
What a voice of encouragement at a time Mary needed it most! What a wonderful example for us to follow! Luke’s gospel goes on to state that after Elizabeth’s encouragement to Mary, Mary sang out in song to glorify the Lord: “My soul glorifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.” Luke 1:46-48
As a result Elizabeth’s actions and words, Mary was able to experience the fullness of joy in her calling. She was able to worship in the face of uncertainly and hardship. Elizabeth reassured Mary in a hard season that God was at work, and that she was truly called. Chosen. Blessed. As moms, we are all called, too. Maybe we weren’t selected to birth the Savior to the world, but we were chosen to be mothers to our babies and wives to our husbands. We were placed here in this life for a purpose. And sometimes, we forget just how blessed we are just to be a part of God’s plan for our families. It’s an easy thing for even the happiest of moms to forget in the business of the holiday hustle and bustle. It’s even easier to forget in the face of hardship.
Lost jobs. Missed payments. Broken hearts. Sickness. Death. So many mommas are struggling. Who do you need to encourage this Christmas? Who do you need to bless joyfully in a loud voice?
Today, I challenge all of us to look around and see other moms who might be struggling. Send them a card in the mail with a sweet note. Better yet, tell them in person. Exclaim it in a load voice! Don’t be afraid to speak out with a kind word!
I’m so thankful for good friends, loving family. The people who have my back when others start to attack. And I pray that you’re surrounded by your own army of Elizabeths if you’re facing hardship or heartache this holiday.
I pray also, that as women, we will become these type of friends for our sisters this season. May we be the type of friends who speak out loudly to encourage those among us who are struggling!
Merry Christmas, blessed ones!