December has arrived and Advent is settling over us like snow. I love this time of year with the expectancy and excitement of counting down until Christmas. When I started the Worth the Wait series, I knew I wanted to continue it all the way up to Christmas, and you can bet I spent some time with the two leading ladies in Luke who know a thing or two about waiting.
The first is Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist. We get part of her story in Luke 1 where we first meet her husband Zechariah the priest. We learn quickly that they were both “righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord” but they were also childless and the hope was waning as they were “both advanced in years”.
Hope was on the way though! An angel appeared to Zechariah to say that his prayers had been heard and his wife would have a son named John. Can you imagine how excited they must be?! Not only would they have a son, but the angel had more to say: “And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord” (Luke 1: 14-14).
So, as the story goes, Elizabeth does become pregnant, and what a joyful time that was sure to be! A dream that had become a dream of a dream in her longing for a babe of her own was unfolding before her eyes.
Then in the story we are introduced to her young cousin Mary. It is often assumed that she was around the age of fourteen when she received a visit from the angel and then gave birth to Jesus some months later. Mary visits her cousin Elizabeth after receiving the news, and when Elizabeth heard the voice of her cousin she cried out in joy and the baby “leaped in her womb” (Luke 1: 41-42).
Something about this story always struck me as wild and beautiful. First, you have Elizabeth who is well on in years expecting her first child, a gift she dreamed about for ages. Then you have Mary, a wife-to-be who has received the news that will change her life (and the WORLD) forever, at the young age of fourteen. These cousins have both received blessings in a season where they may share them together.
In the moment that Elizabeth sees Mary and hears of her joyous news, a natural response could have been envy, or sadness even. In my heart I know I have a tendency to compare gifts, even when I have something wonderful in my own life or season. Elizabeth could have asked, “Why does she get to receive this gift? And at such a young age, too! Why did I have to wait?!”
But she didn’t. Or if she did, it’s not what we hear about. Instead, we read that she was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed:
“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.” Luke 1:42-44
Elizabeth claimed it as a gift and a blessing that she and Mary could rejoice together. She allowed herself to be blessed by someone else’s blessing, and in the midst of it all her story was still part of His story.
This advent season may be a waiting season for many of us, and we may see people around us receiving the things that we have been dreaming of. In the midst of our waiting, may we choose to celebrate together and celebrate our Lord, the author of everyone’s individual story in the midst of His grand adventure.
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