Summary: A look at the stories of joy in the Christmas story and how we can have joy in this season too.
-welcome everyone, the Sunday before Christmas (yay).
-this week for Advent our Scripture is a little different than last week. Where last week was more about repentance and preparing for Christ, this week, all joy. The song should be right. This should be the most wonderful time of the year! The ability to pray directly to God, the knowledge that He is always with us, the infilling of the Holy Spirit in our souls, our Comforter, the knowledge that we have the ability to be forgiven by God, that all starts here! Merry Christmas!!
-so this week we rejoice with some people about the coming of the Messiah.
**Luke 1:39-45 -> 39-40A few days later Mary hurried to the highlands of Judea to the town where Zacharias lived, to visit Elizabeth. 41At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42She gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “You are favored by God above all other women, and your child is destined for God’s mightiest praise. 43What an honor this is, that the mother of my Lord should visit me! 44When you came in and greeted me, the instant I heard your voice, my baby moved in me for joy! 45You believed that God would do what He said; that is why He has given you this wonderful blessing.” (LB)
-awesome. There are some people here who are full of joy over Christ’s coming.
1. ELIZABETH’S JOY
-first we have Lizzie. Elizabeth is Mary’s cousin, although she is much older. Her husband is a priest who has not been able to speak since she first became pregnant. She’s probably full of joy!
-but for Elizabeth’s story, she was old and barren and thought she would never have a child. And in Jewish culture, joy comes from having lots of children.
**Ps. 127:3-5a -> 3Children are a gift from God; they are His reward. 4Children born to a young man are like sharp arrows to defend him. 5Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them. (LB)
-for those who aren’t archers, a quiver is the pouch that archers wear on their back or on their side that holds their arrows.
-but that’s how big children are to God. They are a gift of God, a reward.
-so you have Elizabeth here who is now old and has no children. In a sense, in her culture, she is shamed. She is not as blessed by God as her friends who have kids.
-so for her to find out, here in this passage, she has a child. She is going to finally after all these years have a child, she is full of joy. The angel who told her husband this even said they would be full of joy.
**Luke 1:13-15a -> 13But the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John.14You will have great joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15for he will be great in the eyes of the Lord. (NLT)
-this child will bring her joy. And he does, even before he’s born. Elizabeth finds even more joy when she learns she’s not just having a child, she is having a son. Someone to carry on the family name, the family heritage.
-but even more than that, this son will be great in the eyes of the Lord. Could you imagine hearing that about your life or your child’s life? In the Sanctuary of the temple an angel appears and tells your husband that you will bear a child that will do great things for God. How would you feel if that happened to you today here at church?
-incredible joy. All the patience, all the time watching her friends play with their kids while she gets to be the babysitter, now she will finally have a child.
-and add on top of this, her husband. Zechariah was told all this by an angel, but he started to argue saying he and his wife were too old. This should sound vaguely familiar (Abraham and Sarah). So the angel tells Zechariah he won’t speak until the baby is born. So not only is Elizabeth having a baby, but throughout her entire pregnancy her husband can’t complain or talk back to anything she asks? Hallelujah! I bet she’s full of joy!
-you know it’s true. When I was little you know what we gave my mom for Mother’s Day? We played outside. All Momma wants is peace and quite!
-but seriously, this was huge for Elizabeth. She was finally a mother, and a mother to someone who would do great things for God. Can there be a greater joy than to know that your child’s life has a destiny chosen by God?