Women of Christmas Devotional #5

by Kathy

Women of Christmas Pic

If you reading the book Women of Christmas, read chapter 4

Bible reading:  Luke 1: 39-56

Soon after Mary was told she was going to be the mother of the Messiah, she gathered her things and made her way on a difficult journey to Elizabeth’s house.   This journey would have taken approximately nine or ten days across rock strewn mountain ranges.  Mary, most likely from a poor family, had no wealth to send servants ahead of her to announce her arrival.  With no announcement of her coming for a visit, you can imagine how surprised Elizabeth was to see Mary.  But something else truly rocked Elizabeth’s world.  When Elizabeth heard Mary calling out her greeting, “Elizabeth’s baby leaped inside of her and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit”. (Luke 1:41)  I love what it says in the next verse (vs. 42) – she was so filled with emotion that her words came out with a “loud voice“! When I am excited about something, my husband will often have to remind me that I need to lower my voice a bit!

I love what Liz Curtis Higgs writes about this:

Nothing planned here.  Elizabeth simply blurted out what was on her heart.  I picture her standing quite close to Mary, perhaps even grasping her hands.  So why lift up her voice with a loud cry?  She couldn’t help doing so.  This was an inspired utterance.  This was the Holy Spirit taking charge.  The words came from Elizabeth’s mouth, but they were formed and fueled by the Holy Spirit at work in her as she sang out exuberantly – Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!”

Think about this…How could Elizabeth have known Mary was pregnant?  Mary would have only been a few weeks pregnant at this time.  These words that poured out of Elizabeth as Mary arrives was a revelation of the Holy Spirit!  Can you imagine these two women looking at each other in amazement as this conversation unfolds!

Mary’s response to Elizabeth’s greeting is beautiful poetry, known to many throughout the ages as the Magnificat, which is Latin for “it magnifies”.   These magnificent words sprang from a young, uneducated girl who lived in a very poor area.  They were words expressing her heart, but her praise in such an elevated language could only be the work of the Holy Spirit within her.  Take a few minutes of quiet and just read this passage and notice how her words express her devotion…how her heart is overflowing with praise to the Lord wanting to glorify Him alone!

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior

for he has been mindful of the humble state of this servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed

for the Mighty One has done great things for me ~

holy is his name.

His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;

he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever,

even as he said to our fathers.”  (Luke 1:46-55)

Her words point us to what it means to love and serve God…to live with a divine purpose…to put Him above everyone and everything!

Let’s Pause for Heart Application

As I read Mary and Elizabeth’s greeting to one another, it is not these women that captured my attention.  What stood out to me was how the Holy Spirit was front and center in these verses.  How could they have said these words to each other, unless the Holy Spirit  taught them these things?  As I reflected on this, a verse came to my mind – “be filled with the Holy Spirit – speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs – sing and make music in your heart to the Lord – always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name our Lord Jesus Christ” – Ephesians 5:18-20

As I go through this Christmas season, (and beyond!!!!) I want to point others to the Holy Spirit’s work in my life.  To do this, I must be intentional to come into His presence and make room for Him daily in my life.  As I read His Word, I am asking Him to fill me with more of Him – His joy and His Peace.  Romans 15:13 says that as I do this something happens – “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  As I ask God to fill me with His joy and peace, and as I trust Him each moment, here is what will happen in my life ~ I will be filled to the point of overflowing with the power of the Holy Spirit!  Don’t you love this promise!!

Just like Mary and Elizabeth overflowed with joy and hope from the Holy Spirit working through them, I want joy and hope to spill out of me in such a way that it is seen by those I encounter each day.  What might our days look like if this was our focus each day?  What words would we speak?  What attitudes would we present?  How would this change the way we go through our day?

How can we do this?  By intentionally coming before God each day – reading His Word – humbling ourselves to His teaching – asking Him to fill us with the power of the Holy Spirit – so that we can pour Him out to those around us.  We can’t pour out if we are not being poured into first.  God tells us this in John 15:5 – “I am the vine; you are the branches.  If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

It seems so elementary to state that we should spend time with Jesus and read the Bible daily.  We know this, right?  It’s like Christianity 101!  However, we can become so busy that we neglect to do this.  Or, when we make time for this, there are thousands of things that come to mind that urgently need to be done and our brains are pulled away to things like – putting in a load of laundry…checking an email…looking at what our friends are up to on Facebook…planning dinner for the night…putting a shopping list together…putting a plan together for the day…looking at something that was left out and feeling the need to get up and put it away right that moment…needing to call someone…and the list can go and on, can’t it?

These are the things that often grab my attention and interrupt me from time in His presence.   However, this is what I am learning to be true – If I fail to get my heart in order first, I am guaranteeing myself a misplaced attitude that day.  When I don’t spend time in His presence, my reactions will be so much harsher, my perspective gets more self-centered, my emotions are edgier, and my tongue less grace-filled.

Let’s make room for Him this Holiday season and beyond by intentionally setting aside time each day to get into His Word.  You can do this by opening any book in your Bible and reading a couple of verses each day.  You can purchase a devotional book.  You may want to sign up for devotions to be sent directly to your email everyday.   Here are some that I love:

www.proverbs31.org

www.girfriendsingod.com

www.encouragementcafe.com

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