How do you react to unexpected news or changes in your life? In today’s portion of the Advent journey, we see Elizabeth’s response to her unexpected pregnancy? She was advanced in age and had long since given up hope of having a child. God miraculously provided and we see her humble, thankful response in Luke 1:23-25. “When Zechariah’s week of service in the Temple was over, he returned home. 24 Soon afterward his wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months. 25 “How kind the Lord is!” she exclaimed. “He has taken away my disgrace of having no children.”
Just as many women today do not announce their pregnancy until the first trimester is completed, Elizabeth went into seclusion giving herself time to adjust to this new life within her. Her joy is evident in her words and she gives praise and credit to the Lord. The sigma of not having children was more than just being deprived of the joy of being a parent as people also thought the woman was not favored by God. Elizabeth’s joy at realizing her dream of having a child and being favored by God to have a son with a specific purpose was overwhelming. She chose to thank God for His attribute of kindness. She recognized God’s kindness in sending her a child and also his promised Messiah to come. As believers in Jesus, we see this as stated in Titus 3:4-7 “But—When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5 he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6 He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior. 7 Because of his grace he made us right in his sight and gave us confidence that we will inherit eternal life.” Elizbeth saw God’s love and mercy towards her, His generosity and grace. Her whole being was thankful. We too see this same kindness towards us in Jesus. God’s provision of salvation and hope is overwhelming and filled with His grace.
What about you? What makes you joyous and thankful to your very soul? Is it your relationship with God? Is it God’s expressions of love, joy and grace towards you? Mediate on your attitude and ask God to create in you a spirit of whole thankfulness so you may enjoy this season of great joy!
Because I believe Jesus died on the cross and was raised from the dead, I am overwhelmed with joy. I am dressed as a bridegroom or bride, resplendent in my robes of salvation. With His righteousness upon me, I am like a garden in the spring growing everywhere. ReadIsaiah’s words of prophecy over us in61:10-11.
I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God! For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation and draped me in a robe of righteousness. I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding or a bride with her jewels. 11 The Sovereign Lord will show his justice to the nations of the world. Everyone will praise him! His righteousness will be like a garden in early spring, with plants springing up everywhere.
Praise Him today for your joy, your salvation and your righteousness. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection we are victorious and are filled with joy, saved and clothed in His righteousness! We are in right standing before God because of Him. Have a glorious Easter celebration because our God is alive, HE LIVES! HE HAS RISEN, INDEED!He has conquered the grave and because He lives so can we.
Because I believe Christ died on the cross and rose from the dead, I am a citizen of heaven. Our passport to heaven is stamped citizen the minute we accept Jesus as our Savior. In Philippians 3:19-20 Paul describes our position in contrast to those who do not believe. “They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior.” Also in Ephesians 2:19 Paul encourages the Gentile believers that they now belong to the family of God-all believers. “So now you Gentiles are no longer strangers and foreigners. You are citizens along with all of God’s holy people. You are members of God’s family.”
Why is citizenship in heaven so important? Just like in our age, with citizenship comes privileges of belonging to a nation. We belong to Jesus (Romans 1:5-6), have a future home there prepared by Jesus (John 14:1-3), we will dwell with Him (John 14:23), our reward waits for us there (Matthew 5:12), our treasures are there (Matthew 6:19), our home with Him is eternally strong and secure (2 Corinthians 5:1), our inheritance is kept there secure and unfaded by time (1 Peter 1:4) and we have every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). All these privileges are ours because we know Christ and are citizens of heaven. Through our faith in Jesus, we live in this world but our real home and allegiance is in heaven to our heavenly Father. Jesus warned us that we would struggle with the world and sin but that He has overcome the world. Victory is ours through Christ. 1 John 5:4-5 “For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.And who can win this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God.”