Saturday, December 27, 2008

Joy ~ Day Seven

Luke 1: 39-45
A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 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.”

Not long after Gabriel announced that a miraculous pregnancy was happening to Elizabeth, he visited Mary (Luke 1: 26-38) and told her that she was the one chosen to conceive and bear a child that is from the Holy Spirit. Mary submitted to God’s plan, but she would certainly have known her task would be far from easy. She was young, unmarried, and pregnant. Her emotions must have been tumultuous, at best! She took a journey to share her heart with someone more mature, her relative, Elizabeth.

Our passage for today tells of their meeting. The joy seems almost to leap from the scripture! Elizabeth gives a glad cry, and even the baby within her is joyful. Mary rejoices too, and she praises God for her unique place in His plan.

God had prepared Elizabeth to bear a special child, but God had also prepared her to minister to the young woman who would bear the Messiah, Elizabeth’s young relative, Mary. Who could understand or believe Mary’s fantastic story? Mary must have rehearsed her story many times as she journeyed to visit Elizabeth--and then she did not have to say a word! When Mary came to call, Elizabeth knew what had happened to her without a word of explanation. Because she had seen God’s work in her own life, Elizabeth was able to give affirmation of God’s work in Mary.

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home, probably after Baby John was born. How I would love to know what the two women spoke of during those weeks!

Elizabeth's miracle boy, John the Baptist, would prepare the way for Jesus. Elizabeth had to raise a son who could stand firm in his faith despite criticism, rejection--even prison and death. God had prepared her to be the mother who welcomed such a special son into the world.
In addition to preparing Elizabeth to be John’s mother, God had prepared her to be a blessing to Mary, the promised virgin who was to conceive and bear a son--Emmanuel--God with us! John prepared the way for Jesus, but in a very real way, Elizabeth prepared the way for his mother, Mary. She believed Mary's crazy story because she had a story of her own.

Our OASIS theme for this week is “Invest in People.” One of the simplest, and perhaps best, ways to invest in other’s lives is to share your own journey of faith.

What has God done for you? Who is waiting for you to share your own joyful story? Who is waiting for you to invest in their life?

Prayer: Dear God, help me to recall your miracles, your presence, your joy in my own life. And then, Lord, help me to overflow with the story, not to hoard it to myself, but to share it and to spend my life investing in what is eternal—people!

Challenge: Write out a testimony of what God has done for you. Condense it to one page. Be ready to talk about it as God’s Spirit gives you opportunity!

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