Advent…gives examples of God’s Grace

Mary and Elizabeth were related in some way and since Mary was young and Elizabeth was old, perhaps she viewed her as an elderly aunt. The angel had mentioned Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy when he came to Mary, so going to visit with her would have been a ‘soft’ spot to land, so to speak, while she grappled with her changing life. Elizabeth would have been able to comfort Mary and care for her just as young Mary would have been able to help Elizabeth. Being close in distance was a blessing for both of these godly women, which is evidence of God’s providential care. Read this account from Luke 1:39-45 with ‘grace’ in mind which is God’s unmerited, undeserved, unearned favor or goodness towards us.

A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town 40 where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. 41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. 43 Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? 44 When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. 45 You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”

What grace or favors from God jumped out at you? The the child within Elizabeth ‘jumped’ or moved in her womb at the sound of Mary’s voice. Somehow the presence of the fetus within Mary was recognized by Elizabeth’s unborn baby. The result was confirmation to Elizabeth and Mary that the child she carried was the long awaited Messiah, their Savior. In Old Testament times, the Holy Spirit came upon people for an allotted time, and He did not dwell permanently within the body of the believer as he does today. The Holy Spirit was the cause of Elizabeth’s proclamation acknowledging the deity of Mary’s baby and how precious Mary’s faith and trust was in God. I love that God favored Mary and Elizabeth and gave them confirmation in what would have been a difficult social time for both of them. Elizabeth being an old woman and pregnant and Mary being unwed and pregnant. In addition to this, God also gave Mary the gift of grace in her faith. She fully believed, no doubts, that God was able to do what He said He would do. Her faith is amazing as she never wavered in following through with God’s plan or doubted His ability to complete what He had started. Such complete faith and trust in God is a blessing filled with His grace. I am reminded of Philippians 1:6, “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Mary knew what God started He would bring to pass.

When have you experienced God’s favor in your life? Was it during a difficult time? Did it give you encouragement? We live in the age of ‘grace’ as Jesus came, died on the cross and rose from the dead so that we could be forgiven and drawn into a relationship with Him through faith. He has given us His Holy Sprit to indwell us. Living the Christian life takes dependence upon His Holy Spirit each and every day. This age of grace will end when He returns again, and we will be with Him for eternity. Come Lord Jesus, Come again!

Linda

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