Bible Ballistics: BBs #771 Christmas Ponderings!!! #7
As we approach Christmas week, and we think of all the activities, errands, shopping, wrapping, mailing, cards, gifts, baking and cooking we may become overwhelmed, but I want us to take a few minutes today to remind ourselves of the JOY of Christmas, and WHO it’s ALL about!
“And she shall bring forth a son,
and thou shalt call his name JESUS:
for he shall save his people
from their sins.” Matthew 1:21
This amazing message is what Joseph received from the angel of The Lord as he was trying to decide on a course of action regarding his “espoused”, Mary, who was by this time some 3 or 4 months pregnant (remember she went to Elizabeth almost immediately after receiving the message from the angel for some 3 months). Scripture tells us that Joseph was a just man, and only wanted to do the right thing-–even for Mary. I’ve always wondered about that conversation that Mary had to have with her parents, for while her cousin Elizabeth (the mother of John the Baptizer) knew that her pregnancy was supernatural, we’re not told that her parents had the same spiritual insight. I don’t mean to be irreverent, but can’t you just imagine Mary telling her parents that she was pregnant, but it was a work of God! And then she had to tell Joseph—that had to be an interesting conversation—and he simply wanted to do the right thing for Mary! But once again God stepped in and assured Joseph that his beloved Mary was telling the truth! I can’t even imagine the courage that it took, for surely the neighbors there in Nazareth were just as “gossipy” as neighbors today, and the rumors flew around town; and remember that Joseph would have been presumed to be the father—one who had violated Mary’s purity, and the marriage contract prematurely.
Yet in all of this, there was one other who believed—Elizabeth; and from their encounter we have two of the most beautiful of all declarations of the faith of two women in all of scripture (excepting perhaps the declaration of Hannah)—one who was past childbearing years and was gifted by God to bear a child! The other an engaged maiden who was pregnant without benefit of the marriage being consummated! Elizabeth got the news of her blessing from her husband Zacharias, who also received an angelic visitation and message about “John”!
“And there appeared unto him
an angel of the Lord
standing on the right side
of the altar of incense.
12 And when Zacharias saw him,
he was troubled,
and fear fell upon him.
13 But the angel said unto him,
Fear not, Zacharias:
for thy prayer is heard;
and thy wife Elisabeth
shall bear thee a son,
and thou shalt call his name John.
14 And thou shalt have joy and gladness;
and many shall rejoice at his birth.
15 For he shall be great
in the sight of the Lord,
and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink;
and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost,
even from his mother’s womb.
16 And many of the children of Israel
shall he turn to the Lord their God.” Luke 1:11-16
This faithful servant of God received amazing news via an angelic visit! The angel’s message came to pass, and Zacharias’ wife Elizabeth would receive a visit from another mother of a special child; and six months into her pregnancy, a divine encounter took place, often overlooked in our rush to Bethlehem.
“And in the sixth month
the angel Gabriel was sent from God
unto a city of Galilee,
27 To a virgin espoused to a man
whose name was Joseph,
of the house of David;
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
28 And the angel came in unto her, and said,
Hail, thou that art highly favoured,
the Lord is with thee:
blessed art thou
29 And when she saw him,
she was troubled at his saying,
and cast in her mind
what manner of salutation
this should be.
30 And the angel said unto her,
Fear not, Mary:
for thou hast found favour with God
31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive
in thy womb,
and bring forth a son,
and shalt call his name JESUS.
32 He shall be great,
and shall be called
the Son of the Highest:
and the Lord God
shall give unto him
the throne of his father David:
33 And he shall reign
over the house of Jacob
and of his kingdom
there shall be no end.” Luke 1:26-33
And while Mary may have struggled to accept what the angel told her, she accepted the message from God and then went to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Maybe to confirm what she had been told, maybe to not be in Nazareth as her condition began to show; we don’t know why, except it seems to have been a God designed visit, and the encounter between these two blessed women of God gives us cause to worship and praise our God for the gift of HIS plan of salvation, which came to fruition through a simple Jewish girl of faith with an amazing devotion to her God!
Let’s simply let these two women bring us to the throne of grace today. There is nothing I could add to what they have to say. May we rejoice with such ardor and love!
“And it came to pass, that,
when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary,
the babe leaped in her womb;
and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
42 And she spake out with a loud voice, and said,
Blessed art thou among women,
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.
43 And whence is this to me,
that the mother of my Lord
should come to me?
44 For, lo, as soon as the voice
of thy salutation sounded in mine ears,
the babe leaped in my womb
45 And blessed is she that believed:
for there shall be a performance
of those things which were told her
from the Lord.” Luke 1:41-45
And Mary’s response:
“And Mary said,
My soul doth magnify
47 And my spirit hath rejoiced
in God my Saviour.
48 For he hath regarded the low estate
of his handmaiden:
for, behold, from henceforth
all generations shall call me blessed.
49 For he that is mighty
hath done to me great things;
and holy is
50 And his mercy is on them that fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He hath shewed strength
with his arm;
he hath scattered the proud
in the imagination of their hearts.
52 He hath put down the mighty
from their seats,
and exalted them
of low degree.
53 He hath filled the hungry
with good things;
and the rich
he hath sent empty away.
54 He hath holpen his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy;
55 As he spake to our fathers,
to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
56 And Mary abode with her about three months,
and returned to her own house.” Luke 1:46-56
May you find comfort knowing the fullness of joy that is found in The Word of The Lord!
Amen and Amen!!!