When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
When we think about Christmas, sometimes we see it as the end of the story. For us, it comes at the end of a calendar year and we quickly move on to the new year. But really, the birth of Jesus is only the beginning. God sent Jesus to Earth to make a way to have a relationship with us and that’s a really big deal for us! It’s where hope begins.
It’s easy for us to see this picture of Mary and Elizabeth, filled with joy and hope–filled with the presence of the Holy Spirit as they anticipate the birth of Jesus. However, I’m reminded of just how inconvenient, unconventional and burdensome this endeavor was for Mary–and yet there is immense joy and hope. There is peace in the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Friends, does anticipating Christmas seem inconvenient, unconventional or burdensome to you this year? Maybe you have lost ones you love, have struggled with your health, have had a big move or change or loss of work. Sometimes, if we are honest, it can be challenging to look in anticipation to the hope of Christmas when we can’t see past the valid burdens we carry.
Mary carried burdens. As a young, unmarried woman such a pregnancy would have accompanied many social and relational dynamics that would have been a whirlwind that would not have favored Mary. Not to mention, pregnancy and delivering a baby is no small undertaking.
Whether you are struggling to embrace this season or are excited that the Christmas season is upon us, I pray you will be like Mary and embrace the promise and hope of the season, despite the real struggles we face. After all, that is what the hope of Jesus is all about.
Romans says these words, “I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NLT
Where in your life do you feel like you need more hope, joy, or peace? Memorize this verse, inserting your own name where you see the word “you.” Then, pray it that way, asking God to completely fill you up with hope as we anticipate the birth of Christ.
Artwork: “Jump for Joy” www.artbycorby.etsy.com