Tag Archive for Christmas

The Women of Christmas: Mary

“The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’”

~ Luke 1:28

The second woman of Christmas is the one we usually think of first. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is probably the most well-known women in the Bible.

Let’s kick off today’s study by covering what we already know about Mary…

Luke 1:26-28 tells us that she was a virgin, pledged to be married, favored by God – how old would she have been? (12 or 13)

In Luke 1:31-33 we find that she is going to be the mother of God’s Son.

Luke 1:35 discloses that she will become a mother through miraculous conception.

And in Matthew 13:55 we learn that she would go on to be the mother of other children

Luke 1:36 tells us that she is Elizabeth’s relative.

And I think most importantly, we see in Luke 1:38 that she was willing.

Taking the angel at his word, Mary left immediately to go visit her relative, the first woman of Christmas, Elizabeth.

Read: Luke 1:39-45 and Luke 1:46-55

And then read:1 Thessalonians 5:11; Romans 1:11-12; Romans 15:5-6; 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17

God used Elizabeth and Mary to encourage one another. Do you ever need encouragement?

Mary is most commonly thought of as the most blessed woman in the Bible. She “found favor” with God (Luke 1:30), and was chosen as the mother of His child. What an honor! …But that honor came at a high price.

Mary’s life wasn’t an easy one. For starters, she was an unmarried, pregnant teen. Read Matthew 1:18-19. Do you know what would it have meant to be in those circumstances in that day and age? What would have happened to Mary?

Had God not intervened, she would have possibly been stoned, and at best, be forced to raise her child as an outcast. As it was, God did intervene, but that doesn’t mean life was easy. Read the rest of that passage in Matthew 1:20-25

Then, she had to travel from Nazareth to Judea in the end of her pregnancy, and give birth in a barn. Read Luke 2:1-7

So often when we think of the virgin birth, we remember how miraculous it was. We glamorize it and focus on the shepherds and wise men. Let’s take a moment to think about Mary. She gave birth in a barn, and was visited by a bunch of strange, socially unacceptable, men she didn’t know. And then she had to leave – to run away – to save her baby. Read Matthew 2:13-18.

We don’t know how old Jesus was when they had to leave for Egypt. The shepherds and wise men had all come and gone. Jesus had been circumcised and presented in the temple. Many scholars believe he could have very well been three years old by this time. Have you ever travelled with a toddler?

If you have a moment, look at some of the other situations Mary was put in as the mother of Jesus: Luke 2:41-50-52; John 2:1-5; Matthew 12:46-50; John 19:25; Matthew 28:1-10

Mary isn’t someone to be worshiped. Yes, she was blessed by God, but she was still just a woman. She still faced hardships and doubts. She still had to deal with peer pressure, heartache, and loss. She was the mother of our Savior, but she is also our sister in Christ. As you think about Mary this Christmas season, remember that God favor doesn’t always mean worldly honor, but the gift of salvation we have been given through His Son.

 

“Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister,
Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.”

~ John 19:25

maryandbaby


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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

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The Women of Christmas

Last month I did a study of the women of Christmas: Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna. What I learned is that these women were much like you and me. They weren’t high and lofty, but ordinary women that God used for extraordinary things.The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs

This month, I want to share that study with you. But first, I have to tell you that it all started with a book. Liz Curtis Higgs is the author of the book, “The Women of Christmas“. It inspired my study and I highly recommend it.

However, it didn’t just focus on Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna, but the whole Christmas story. It focused on Zechariah, Joseph, and the events that surrounded the birth of our Savior. I wanted my study to focus on the women. So I wrote my own.

I hope you’ll allow me to introduce you to the women of Christmas. Over the past month they have become dear friends, and I think you’ll find you have much in common with them as well. What better place for a friendship to start?

You can come back on Monday to meet Elizabeth, and I also encourage you to pick up a copy of Liz’ book by clicking the image above.

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