Surprise! It’s a Boy!
Now in the sixth month of her pregnancy, the angel Gabriel[God is mighty] was sent by God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin engaged to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel came to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you!” Startled by his statement, she tried to figure out what his greeting meant.
Then the angel told her, “Stop being afraid, Mary, because you have found favor with God. Listen! You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. He will rule over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.”
Mary asked the angel, “How can this happen, since I have not had relations with a man?”
The angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come over you, and the power of the Most High will surround you. Therefore, the child will be holy and will be called the Son of God. And listen! Elizabeth, your relative, has herself conceived a son in her old age, this woman who was rumored to be barren is in her sixth month. Nothing is impossible with respect to any of God’s promises.”
Then Mary said, “Truly I am the Lord’s servant. Let everything you have said happen to me.” Then the angel left her.
The surprise that changed our lives.
Gabriel brought the good news to Mary, and Mary hurried to Elizabeth’s house to share the surprise with her. These two women, one young and one old, held surprises miraculously given from the Lord. News was delivered to both by the angel Gabriel. Not only the gift of children, but the gift of having each other. God provided Elizabeth as a gift for Mary. Elizabeth commends Mary’s faith. I picture them sharing their deepest fears and dreams about motherhood together. We all need an Elizabeth in our lives, someone just that much further along in life to help us through. What a gift. God places these people in our lives with a purpose, and on purpose. Maybe your Elizabeth is a friend, mentor, counselor, etc., it may look differently, but having a sister in Christ pointing you toward Him and challenging you when you drift from Him will be necessary in your walk with Him.
I imagine Mary dreaming about her encounter with Gabriel for the rest of her life. She would soon deliver the Savior of the universe. The ultimate surprise that would change the world forever. A Savior to us all. Have you experienced a surprise that changed the course of your life? How did you handle it? I’m sure you remember every detail.
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home.
When Mary entered Elizabeth’s home, Mary was greeted with a warm, bold blessing -“You are the most blessed of women, and your child will be blessed.” Elizabeth knew exactly what Mary needed. Like Elizabeth, we need to listen to the Holy Spirit and be willing and ready to bless our sisters in Christ when they need it.
The Spirit calls us to live in unity with Him and this is one way that we can do that. We can offer life-giving words or life to those around us with our choice of words. Those who are scared and need being held and loved can step in. We can be the hands and feet where Jesus calls us to be. We can be like Elizabeth and speak words of blessings to those around us, those scared and alone this holiday season.
A simple prayer for someone can change the trajectory of someone’s day.
A Prayer to Keep God at the Center During the Holidays- Debbie McDaniel
Lord, We worship You during this Christmas season. You are our wonderful Counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). We choose to put You at the center of our family life as we celebrate Your birth. Keep us from distractions and help us to invite You into all our family activities. Teach us to pray and help us to glorify and worship You in our family during this busy time of year. Give us a spirit of wisdom and revelation that we might know You better (Ephesians 1:17). Thank you for being Immanuel, “God with us.” Open our eyes to realize this each day as we interact with others. Help us to be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as You forgave us (Ephesians 4:32). Show us creative ways to love and care for those outside our home. Fill us to overflowing with Your love for the lost. Teach us to do acts of kindness to those who are in need at this time of year. May our family be a refreshment and light to others. We ask You to touch with salvation those in our family who do not know You. Open their hearts to Your great love for them. Help us to share Your Truth and be Your light. You are the Savior of the world. Amen.
Be the reason that someone sings today. Be a joyful surprise to those around you. Thank you Lord for being the greatest surprise that we have ever encountered in history, the surprise that has changed us all for eternity to come, the gift that never ceases to amaze us all. This is Christmas!
This Christmas season- Sing with joy Emmanuel – God with us!
-Ariana© December 2022