Last Christmas our church did a series on the Christmas Story from different perspectives. I was honored to be able to present the perspective of Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist.
I thought now would be a good time to add it to the blog!
I hope you enjoy taking a peek into the life of Elizabeth as she participates in the Christmas story by divine pregnancy, birthing the forerunner of Jesus, and ministering to her cousin- the mother of our Messiah!
(Based on Luke Chapter 1)
Read the Script or watch the Video!
Elizabeth was a high standing Israelite, from the lineage of Aaron. While she was not sinless, she was blameless. Both her and her husband were purely sincere in their works and their conversation.
Even through the experience of being barren were they faithful to their God. Through the disgrace and the shame that came with being childless in that day and age, even then, they believed God and obeyed.
An elderly Elizabeth gathered with her fellow Israelites in Jerusalem that particular day that her husband served in Jerusalem.
Her heart skipped as she saw her husband in front of the crowd entering into the Holy Temple. It was a once in a lifetime privilege- for a priest like her husband to have the lot fall on him. To be the one entering and lighting the incense. A smile tickled her lips and a pure pride surged through her as she watched.
Zachariah was inside the temple longer than priests usually were. That day as the prayer time stretched on some concern flowed through the crowd. Elizabeth remained diligent in her prayers, ignoring any hum that came her way, yet couldn’t stop her heart from beating a bit faster.
Meeting with the Holy God of Israel was gloriously dangerous.
As Zachariah emerged from the temple, relief swept over the crowd and a few tears escaped Elizabeth’s eyes. And then she watched as her priestly husband, without a voice, try to convey the encounter he had had inside the temple.
Afterward Elizabeth was fidgety with anticipation for Zachariah to come to her. Her love and longing for him was overwhelming. And when their eyes finally did meet after such an event- the smiles and tears were uncontainable.
Elizabeth sat in wonder as her husband conveyed what had happened in the temple with an angel. She giggled a bit as she watched her now mute husband convey that they would have a child, and the tears started flowing.
They found great comfort in each other that night as they delighted in the Lord and one another.
Once Elizabeth became pregnant she went into seclusion. For 5 months she did not go out in public. Even Elizabeth herself couldn’t pinpoint her exact reasoning…
She spent time imagining the scene in the temple with her husband and this angel Gabriel. An angel that stands in the presence of The Almighty God… sent to speak to Zechariah- to tell him the news that they would have a son- in their very old age even- and not only would they have a son, but a son filled with the Holy Spirit, great in the sight of the Lord! This son of theirs would go before the Messiah, in the spirit and power of Elijah- Elizabeth would have a son that would bring back many people of Israel to the Lord their God, he would turn the hearts of parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous. This son of hers, John would make ready a people prepared for the Lord!
Elizabeth had a lot to contemplate and pray about! The weight of bearing and raising a son such as this was no light matter. And if she were to go out in public, what would she say to those around her? How would she explain that her husband was struck mute because he doubted a word sent from God about them having a child at such a ridiculously old age… And after knowing the disgraceful blanket of being barren that always cloaked her in the presence of the public. Handling herself, her husband and her baby would require a confident and graceful air. So yes, seclusion is what she chose for a time. One should refrain for passing any judgment upon her about her seclusion.
After 5 months Elizabeth’s midsection swelled with pregnancy and she emerged from her seclusion confident and strengthened in her spirit, prepared for the season in front of her. “ The Lord has done this for me” she said. “in these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
She radiated a sort of youthful light as she went about her days with almost a dance in her elderly steps.
Upon the arrival of the her sixth month of pregnancy came and unexpected visit from her young relative. Elizabeth’s heart leap the moment she saw sweet Mary. Their greeting was long as they exchanged stories of miraculous encounters. Tears of wonder flowed freely from both women. Elizabeth’s womb jumped for joy through their greeting and exchanges. And Elizabeth’s heart about burst with adoration for your young relative. The Holy Spirit surged through her and she loudly exclaimed, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.”
Elizabeth fully believed the story of the child before her. She generously built Mary up in spirit and kept her in her home for three months. Elizabeth undoubtedly knew even more than Mary did, the challenges and responsibilities Mary would have in the seasons to come.
Those sweet 3 months were cherished and invaluable for both women. They served each other well and the beauty of relationship was lived out to the fullest. Mary physically helped her senior relative as she soaked in wisdom, encouragement and teaching that flowed from Elizabeth.
Elizabeth, the woman who remained steady and faithful in the many years of disgrace and unanswered prayers, heartache and turmoil. And then- this believing woman received the phenomenal miracle of baring the one who prepared a way for the Messiah.
Elizabeth, even though aged in the experiences of the world was unjaded and one who believed the Lord with a pure heart. She embraced a younger woman and guarded her, prayed for her and spoke truths to her that Mary would forever hold onto.
Elizabeth, who was blessed with the honor of being a blood relative to the Messiah.
Elizabeth held a role that was crucial to the story of our deliverance.
Honorable and graceful in her days, she birthed and brought up in obedience the forerunner of our Messiah.
And not only so, she offered and invested what she had to the young girl that, through many hardships, birthed and raised the promised King who will reign forever.
Now, I may not be a woman whose lineage includes the Messiah, and everyone knows that I’ve not born any who has the spirit and power of Elijah… Oh, but I pray that, like Elizabeth, I Would encourage and bless the women that come my way. I may not receive the mother of our Messiah in my home- but I pray that any woman that comes my way will feel the importance of the role they play in the story of eternity.
May I be one who declares, as Elizabeth did-
“Blessed is she who believes the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”