This time each year, I find myself reading the story of Jesus’ birth. This year as I read through the story, the Holy Spirit is showing me a fresh perspective.
I have always known that women played a role in the birth of our Savior. But, for the first time, I am seeing just how vital their place in time truly was. I hope you enjoy this journey through a familiar story together.
Elizabeth, our first woman of Christmas, descended from a long line of priests…She married one as well! Together they were “righteous in the sight of God”, but their neighbors had another word for this couple: childless.
In ancient Israel, a woman’s worth was measured by how many children she could provide for her husband, particularly sons. No sons = No worth.
Elizabeth was getting up there in age too. Her chances of having even one child at this point looked almost non-existent. Some scholars believe she had already enjoyed the season of life we call menopause.
Elizabeth’s challenge then still echoes in the hearts of women today: How can we stay faithful to God, when our prayers seem to go unanswered? Whether we’re praying for a baby to hold, a husband to love, our health to be restored, or possibly a broken relationship to be mended, we find ourselves wondering at times, “Is God listening? Does God care? Will He ever respond?”
As we see with Elizabeth’s story and it is true for us too, the answer is a resounding, YES!!! He hears, He sees, He cares, and He will respond.
One of the most significant things Elizabeth teaches us is to trust God’s timing.
In scripture, there is no record of Elizabeth doubting the word spoken to her husband. There is no lack of faith documented. But, what we clearly see, and what makes this couple’s story vastly different from a couple in the Old Testament, Abraham & Sara, is that Elizabeth didn’t try to “help” the situation. She didn’t grow impatient. She didn’t try to manage the promise into being. She waited and trusted the word of the Lord.
We see that Elizabeth was a woman dedicated to the Lord, praying at the temple regularly, and embracing a season of seclusion during the first months of pregnancy. She mentions that, during that time of seclusion, the Lord “looked upon her” – so we can conclude that her days were spent abiding in a personal relationship with God.
Elizabeth’s life certainly had not gone as planned up until that point. Her journey into motherhood was less than ideal. But, what we see is that Elizabeth made room for God to work in her life. She made room in her heart, body, and soul.