Women in the Nativity
You don’t often get to hear about Elizabeth, John the Baptist’s mother, in the typical Nativity story. I don’t think I’ve ever seen her on a Christmas card, or in a Christmas Eve Nativity pageant. If it weren’t for Luke, I wonder if we’d have known her story really at all? But look what Luke tells us about her when Mary came to visit her at her home in Judah Luke 1:39-41
“39 At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, 40 where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”
How can you tell you’ve been filled with the Holy Spirit. Well, pretty much, you start praising God openly, and highlighting the Lord Jesus Christ in some way. Here’s what happened to Elizabeth:
“42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! 43 But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. 45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” (Luke 1:42-45)
Her prophetic encouragement was crucial in Mary’s life.
Elizabeth’s story reminds you and me that the Holy Spirit is an Encourager and a Comforter, and that we can’t make this spiritual journey without His help. You and I need to recognize that God sometimes brings people into our lives to provide words to sustain us – or He might be bringing you into someone’s life to encourage them.
When young Mary asked the angel Gabriel how she would be able to conceive the Messiah as a virgin, the angel said,
“The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
The Bible does not say when this event occurred, but we know that by the time Mary met Elizabeth at her door, the Holy Spirit had overshadowed Mary, and Jesus had been conceived, because Elizabeth felt the baby John leap inside her. It’s at that moment that Mary began to praise the Lord,
“46 …“My soul glorifies the Lord 47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed, 49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.” (Luke 1:46-49)
Mary’s story reminds you and me that one of the key ways the Holy Spirit works in our lives is in moving us to praise and worship. Being filled with the Spirit automatically unleashes uninhibited praise and a public declaration of God. If my praise is subdued, casual or restrained, then I need a fresh infilling.
(Thoughts taken and revised from http://www.charismamag.com/index.php/fire in my bones/29682 dont leave the holy spirit out of christmas#readmore)