Enjoying God's Miracles

Enjoying God's Miracles | December 17th

 After four hundred years of silence between the Old and New Testament, God spoke, and the news of two miraculous births was part of His message. First and foremost, Christmas centers around the holy family, starting with Jesus and his parents, Joseph and Mary. However, just before the birth of Christ, His older cousin, John the Baptist, would be born to Zechariah and Elizabeth. John's conception and birth would be extraordinary for a different reason. See, Zechariah and Elizabeth were in their early to late 80s, not exactly childbearing age!

Zechariah headed home once the angel Gabriel relayed the message about John's arrival. Luke 1:23-25 reports, "Zechariah stayed on at the Temple for the remaining days of his Temple duties and then returned home. 24 Soon afterward, Elizabeth, his wife, became pregnant and went into seclusion for five months. 25 'How kind the Lord is,' she exclaimed, 'to take away my disgrace of having no children!' "
Notice first that Luke notes that Elizabeth didn't conceive until Zechariah went home after his Temple duties. This statement reminds readers that Zechariah was faithful in finishing his task and was, indeed, the father. Sometimes, we drop our spiritual responsibilities after God answers our prayer because "we got what we wanted."

Next, we see that Elizabeth stayed hidden for the first five months of her pregnancy. Because of her age and barrenness, no one would have believed that she was with child until she was far along enough in her pregnancy to show visible signs. Moreover, it would have sounded somewhat strange for an 80-plus-year-old woman to say she was pregnant! Even so, the unconventional timing of her pregnancy and the scrutiny that would follow didn't steal her joy.
In our fast-paced society, we often move very quickly to the next responsibility, event, or project, leaving little time to take inventory of our blessings. Or we allow others to dictate our response. Not so with Elizabeth; she truly enjoyed the gift of this news no matter what anyone would say. Like Hannah's reaction and prayer centuries earlier (First Samuel 1:19-2:10), Elizabeth was profoundly thankful that the Lord removed the stigma of her childlessness by miraculously allowing her to conceive.

Learning from this story, we, too, can become more mindful of our blessings and declare our gratitude to the Lord. Take inventory of all He has done and trust Him for more miraculous provisions.

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