O Come, Let Us Adore Him – Advent Day 14 – Two Moms-to-Be
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” (Luke 1:39-45, ESV)
By the time we are introduced to Elizabeth, both she and her husband are well advanced in years, far beyond child-bearing age. She had spent decades waiting for a child, longing to raise a son who could learn from his father to serve God in His temple. More than any other specific challenge, that season—those long days, weeks, and years of waiting and wondering, praying and watching, and surrendering the haunting questions again and again—was likely the most painful. Any hope she once held of raising a son for the Lord’s purposes was long ago relinquished.
Then, when they least expected it, Elizabeth and Zechariah were given the remarkable opportunity to see how their unique situation would draw attention to the truly miraculous things God was about to do. An angel from God appeared to Zechariah, telling him their prayers had been heard and answered. Elizabeth, who was called barren and was beyond child-bearing age, would conceive, carry, birth, and raise a son!
Their child was named and claimed by God for a specific and thrilling assignment before he was even conceived. Elizabeth’s recorded words were few but very telling: “How kind the Lord is! … He has taken away my disgrace” (Luke 1:25, NLT).
When Elizabeth was six months pregnant, a much younger woman, her cousin Mary, was chosen by God to carry and birth His Son, the promised Messiah. Remarkably, Elizabeth held no envy or questions. She genuinely rejoiced with Mary, proclaiming her blessed and marveling at the thought that the mother of her Lord would come to visit her!
Elizabeth warmly welcomed Mary into her home for the first three months of her own pregnancy. Two women, generations apart in age, yet uniquely called by God to walk equally unusual and probably misunderstood paths to motherhood, were given the gift of supporting one another in the quiet, tucked-away place of Elizabeth’s home.
How did Elizabeth stay so calm, so confident, so joyfully yielded? How did she seem to know and understand what God was doing? I can only guess that her unique circumstances (those personal struggles that left her so lonely at times) led her to the Lord in prayer many times over the years. She had listened and learned His commands and promises and believed them. The one true God made Himself real to her in a growing, personal way. He held her aching heart and revealed things to her that few people knew or understood.
Knowing God and trusting His plan must have steadied her when she found herself in uncharted territory. When no one knew quite what to make of their living miracle, she seemed to have no questions, only confidence. And joy! Her life before, during and after giving birth to her own long-awaited son seems to have been hidden away—quiet, unnoticed by most, simply faithful.
Elizabeth experienced what others could then witness and understand. The coming Messiah was not just a Redeemer but was the One with whom nothing was impossible!