The Women of Christmas: Elizabeth
“‘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.’”
~ Luke 1:25
As we start our journey through the women of Christmas, the first woman we come to is Elizabeth. We all know her story…
Her husband Zechariah was a priest, who, being well along in years, finally got his turn to serve in the temple. And it changed his life, and hers, forever. While he was serving in the temple, the angel Gabriel came to him and told him that his wife, Elizabeth, would bear him a son. Because he and Elizabeth were both old, Zechariah wanted more proof than just the word of an angel, so he was struck dumb. That’s the background that leads us to the first woman of Christmas.
We don’t know much about Elizabeth (she is only mentioned 11 times in all of Scripture, and all of them in Luke chapter 1), but let’s go ahead and look at what we do know. What do the following verses tell us about Elizabeth?
Read: Luke 1:5-7; Luke 1:13; Luke 1:24-25
One of the first things we see is that Elizabeth was “righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly” (NIV). What would such a woman look like?
Read: Isaiah 66:2; Matthew 6:33-34; Proverbs 31:26; Proverbs 31:17
Elizabeth was a servant of God. There was no doubt about that. But she was also a wife. Can you imagine your husband going to work, and coming home unable to speak? What would that be like?
Scripture doesn’t give us the answer, but it does say they communicated by making signs and writing (vs. 22 and 63). It also says that Elizabeth chose to live in seclusion for the first five months after this happened. It doesn’t say if Zechariah’s condition had anything to do with that, but it might have.
Finally, Elizabeth was also a mother. While we don’t know how old Elizabeth was when all this happened, we do know that in her husband’s eyes she was past the age when most women bore children. She had lived as barren woman for all of her natural childbearing years. And then God stepped in and answered the prayer. Have you ever had to wait for an answer to prayer?
Read: Matthew 21:22; Psalm 27:14; Lamentations 3:24; Micah 7:7; Romans 8:25; Psalm 37:4; Proverbs 3:5-6
Elizabeth’s son was an answer to prayer, but it’s possible he wasn’t the answer they were hoping for. John lived his life in the wilderness. He was scorned by the priests, imprisoned, and ultimately beheaded. We don’t know if Elizabeth was alive to see any or all of that (she was well along in years before he was born), but even if she wasn’t alive for all of that, she was still his mother. Can you imagine being the mother of John the Baptist? What feelings would she have experienced?
This first woman of Christmas could very well have been any of the women sitting here today. She was a woman of God, a wife, and a mother—all things we can relate to. She was a normal, everyday woman who became part of the Christmas story. And just as God had a hand in the life of Elizabeth, He has a hand in our lives as well.
“When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.”
~ Luke 1:57-58