Advent: Day Twenty-Three

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[e] will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

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.”—Luke 1:34-45

God’s timing is perfect. As we prepare our hearts to remember and celebrate Jesus’ birth, it’s important that we also stand in awe of God’s ability and desire to give us exactly what we need, exactly when we need it—not what we think we need, when we think we need it.

The story of Elizabeth is beautiful, because it results in the birth of John the Baptist, whose ministry helped prepare many hearts for Jesus. But it’s also beautiful because God provides for Elizabeth during a time when she would have been forgotten and shamed because of her inability to give birth to a child. She had failed to comply with that one demand placed upon a woman in her culture, and she was paying the price for it when God saw fit to give her and her husband, Zechariah, a child.

God came to Elizabeth when she was past the age anyone else (including her husband!) believed she could carry a baby and He blessed her. He included her prayers in his holy canon of Scripture. She got to be the one who saw Mary and heard what Gabriel had told Mary from the girl’s own lips. Elizabeth got to carry John the Baptist and feel in her womb John’s first leap of joy at being in the presence of his Lord.

God’s timing is perfect. And the time for Jesus’ birth draws near!

Meditation: In what ways do you tell God that you know best about the things you need? To what earthly kings do you give your loyalty, instead of handing it over to the King of kings? Jesus is the "dear desire of every nation and joy of every longing heart”! He knows what you need and when you need it, and there is none better than He!

Prayer: God, I confess that the longing of my heart for Jesus to come into every place of my life isn’t as desperate as my desire to have what I think I need. Let me walk by faith now as I trust in His work and not my own. Jesus, thank you for humbling Yourself to being born in the form of man, so that You could further humble Yourself in dying for me. In You alone I find peace and hope today.