Recognizing The Christ Child

The angel Gabriel told Mary that her cousin Elisabeth was also expecting a child, conceived in her old age just as she was promised. Knowing this was a blessing from the Lord, Mary wanted to see her cousin, the one woman who would understand what Mary was going through. So off she went to the hill country.

Entering the house, Mary called out to Elisabeth, and Luke paints a beautiful picture of her welcome.

And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. Luke 1:41

Prior to the coming of the Comforter in the book of Acts, people of Bible times were only given the Holy Spirit as a precious gift when in the presence of the Lord. This was the experience Elisabeth was having, though heightened beyond our wildest imaginations. The verse says she only heard Mary’s voice, not even seen her yet, but that sound had a profound effect on her life forever.

We know that Mary knew about Elisabeth’s pregnancy because Gabriel spoke of it, and we can assume family gossip spread like wildfire that Mary was carrying a child, too. But it wasn’t until the Christ child, though not yet even born, was in her home that Elisabeth fully grasped the will of God in their lives.

For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. Luke 1:44-45

All babies move in the womb, but Elisabeth knew that this was different. She just had to tell Mary that this tiny person was leaping for joy, that she and her child both knew they were in the presence of the Messiah. The long-awaited Christ was now under their own roof, and they couldn’t sit still because of their overflow of joy.

Elisabeth’s words would also strengthen Mary’s faith, reminding her that this was all happening according to God’s plan. The road ahead would not be easy, as Mary was probably already experiencing anger and rejection from her family over being pregnant before marriage. But Elisabeth’s words of encouragement and understanding would serve her well in the days to come.

Today we look to Elisabeth’s example and look deep into our own hearts. Are we leaping for joy in the presence of our Lord? Are we so excited to celebrate the birth of our Savior that we can’t sit still? Are we encouraging others to find reasons to rejoice in this Christmas season? 

Blessed are we who believe, just as Elisabeth and John did, that there is no more joyful place to be than with Jesus Christ. When our joy fills our own cup to overflowing, we have more than enough to share with others, reminding them that joy in the Lord can be found every day of the year.


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