The Hope Collective Advent Guide
Joy | Week 4 | Day 23
Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
A Time for Giving
When God the Father scattered the Milky Way and hung Saturn’s rings in place, He thought about Christmas. As God the Son, working in unity with the Father, fashioned the lumbering oxen and the gentle cow with His creative power, He thought of the day when the Father would speak and He’d become flesh. On that day He would gaze with “baby eyes” upon the very creatures He had made.
God the Holy Spirit, moving as a shadow upon the face of the waters in Genesis days, knew one day it would be necessary to move again. This time He would overshadow Mary’s womb, that “the Holy One” to be born of her should be called the “Son of God.”
Isaiah told us that God’s gift would come via special delivery, a son born of a virgin. This son would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Four hundred years later, as an elderly Elizabeth was thinking about the promised gift, God was busy wrapping His Christmas present from heaven in human flesh. And Christmas came early for Elizabeth. When Elizabeth welcomed her cousin Mary, the outcast, ostracized, pregnant girl, God pulled back the wrapping to let her have a peek at His present. Elizabeth’s own baby leaped in her womb for joy, and she was filled with the Holy Spirit, saying:
“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.” (Luke 1:42-45)
Encouraged and strengthened by her cousin, Mary also prepared. She knew the anointed One was coming soon—as she was the earthly vessel for God’s divine action.
God couldn’t have a Christmas without a Mary. He needed more than just a devout person, someone who attended synagogue and said her prayers. The child Christ needed a body to live in! So Mary offered the gift of hers:
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38)
Christmas is a time for giving. The prophets gave their promises. Elizabeth gave her praise. Mary gave her body. Joseph gave his reputation. The innkeeper gave his stable; the shepherds, their time. And God gave His Son. Tell me, do you see your present there?
What are you giving for Christmas?
– Stuart and Jill Briscoe, Meet Him at the Manger, org. Used with permission.
Dear Lord, I pray that you develop in me a giving heart that would glorify you. What “present” are you calling me to give this Christmas? Bring this to the forefront of my mind and help me to see true joy through giving. Amen.
Pay for the person behind you at the drive through.
Leave some snacks in a basket at your front door for the delivery people.
Write a note of appreciation to someone who serves your family—your babysitter, kid’s teacher, coach—and give it with a small gift.
Make Christmas cards for anyone in your life who might need a little joy today, from the mail person to the crosswalk guard. You could even add a gift card or a small treat. (Luke 2:10)