Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Advent 2016



            The role of Elizabeth in the Christmas story is one that we often overlook because she was not in Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus.  She was a woman of prominence and respectability who lived in the hill country of Judea with her husband Zechariah.  Her importance comes because she offered encouragement and assurance to Mary, her cousin, in the early days of Mary's pregnancy.  She told Mary to trust in God because Elizabeth herself was proof that God can do anything.  Elizabeth had quite a story of her own to tell.  John, later know as John the Baptist, was born to Elizabeth when she was long past childbearing age.  In fact, he was a miracle and the fulfillment of the prophecy.

            Elizabeth was the first person in history to recognize Jesus as Lord.  Her baby "leaped" in her womb when Mary walked through her door and Elizabeth called him "Lord."  Mary had come to Elizabeth because her heart too had been thrilled by the message of the angel Gabriel.  These chosen women had great faith and together experienced a marvelous wonder.  Elizabeth mentored Mary by calming Mary's fears.  She offered comfort and hope to her bewildered young relative and together they waited for the birth of the one who would bring salvation to the world.

            Even though we hear no more about Elizabeth after Mary leaves Judea to return to Nazareth, this faithful woman's story of grace and her experience with the mystery of the divine gives us assurance that God will keep God's word.  Elizabeth's son John became a "prophet of the Most High" and went before the Lord to prepare the way for him.

            This Christmas season may we be aware of miracles.  God is full of surprises that leave our lives forever changed.


-- Eve Brawner



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