The Women of Christmas: The Virgin Mother Kind

The Women of Christmas Bible Study Blog | Liz Curtis Higgs

She was young. So young. Far younger than the actresses who’ve portrayed her on screen, Mary of Nazareth was no more than twelve to twelve and a half years old. A preteen, an adolescent. That’s why our thoroughly modern Mary’s new Pinterest board includes a backpack, an electric guitar, and a pair of cool shades (love that royal blue).

Still, it isn’t Mary’s youth that makes her remarkable; it’s her courage. This innocent girl, this virtuous child, was willing to risk the shame of being pregnant out of wedlock, of being shunned by her neighbors, of being put aside by Joseph, if not stoned for adultery, all because an angel said, “God has a surprise for you” (MSG).

You’ll find a surprise waiting for you as well, wrapped inside Mary’s story.

A Surprise Gift at Christmas

Read Chapter Three: The Virgin Mother Kind
Read Luke 1:26–38

Elizabeth was six months pregnant, living in a suburb of Jerusalem, when “God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth” (Luke 1:26), an off-the-beaten-path kind of town in the Galilee region.

That same Gabriel had approached Daniel in a vision hundreds of years earlier. He “looked like a man” (Daniel 8:15), so, not huge with enormous wings, but still frightening enough that Daniel “was terrified and fell prostrate” (Daniel 8:17). Gabriel later came to Daniel “in swift flight” (Daniel 9:21), which surely took the man’s breath away.

Then, when Gabriel appeared before Zechariah in the temple, the angelic messenger announced that he stood “in the presence of God” (Luke 1:19).

Oh my. This is the heavenly creature who came to see our young Mary. Did she faint? scream? run for her life? No, she didn’t.

Mary trusted the One who sent Gabriel. She stayed. She listened.

The Annunciation | Gabriel and Mary

“Greetings, you who are highly favored!” (Luke 1:28) Quite the opening line, isn’t it? Before Mary could grasp the full meaning, Gabriel assured her, “The Lord is with you.”

Now, here’s that surprise I promised you: Gabriel’s message for Mary is also God’s word for us. Because of the Son she would bear, we too are “endued with grace” (AMP) and “truly blessed.”

No, we won’t bear the Son of God, as Mary did. But when we’re born again, God places his Holy Spirit inside us. We are filled, as surely and as miraculously as Mary was: “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

Why me, Lord? That’s the question that overwhelms me, time and again. Why are you so good to me? Mary never spoke those words. She wanted to know how, but she didn’t ask why she was chosen.

We spend a great deal of time asking God why, when we already have the answer: love. He told his people, “I have loved you with an everlasting love” (Jeremiah 31:3). Every chapter of every book of the Bible demonstrates his love for us.

Mary knew she was loved. Do you? When I call you “beloved,” do you believe it?

Beloved Lips

I tried to find a stock photo that might express the word “beloved,” and stumbled on a whole series of close-up shots of this young woman’s mouth, all labeled, “The Lips Of My Beautiful and Beloved Girlfriend.”


To be honest, I found her teeth far more impressive than her lips. But to the man who photographed her, no lips held greater appeal. Truth is, it isn’t her mouth we find amazing; it’s her boyfriend’s boundless love for her.

We tell ourselves we aren’t worthy of God’s love and attention, that we’re nothing special. God begs to differ. “For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you” (1 Thessalonians 1:4).

Just like our Mary, you have “found favor with God” (Luke 1:30). God didn’t choose Mary because she was special. Mary was special because God chose her.

That’s the teachable truth in this chapter, the one thing I pray shines through. However astounding Mary’s bravery, humility, and obedience, God is the one who is to be honored and praised.

The Holy Spirit Will Overshadow You

When Mary asked her one question—“How?”—Gabriel’s answer was, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you” (Luke 1:35). Even the word overshadow makes my stomach do a flip.

I’d have so many questions for Gabriel. When will this happen exactly? And where? How do I get ready? Will it hurt?

Mary asked none of those things.

So often we shower God with questions, demanding to know when our prayers will be answered, where he’s leading us next, and what we’re supposed to do in the meantime.

God isn’t wearied by our questions, but he is blessed when we simply take him at his Word and believe.

Gabriel gave Mary additional fuel for her faith, describing her pregnant relative, Elizabeth, “who was said to be unable to conceive” (Luke 1:36). Said to be. That’s the key. “No one thought she could ever have a baby” (CEV), but God knew better. The whole town called her “barren” (CJB), but God called her fruitful. “People said she couldn’t have a child” (GW), but God said, “Watch this.”

Older Mother with Son

When Gabriel spoke the words we know as Luke 1:37, surely his fellow angels in heaven sang, “Glory, glory, glory to God in the highest!” Here are a half dozen translations. Read them aloud, if you can. Yes, right now. Let the truth sink in deep. These words weren’t meant only for Mary. They are also for you.

“For no word from God will ever fail.” (NIV)
“Nothing is impossible for God!” (CEV)
“There is nothing that God cannot do.” (GNT)
“Every promise from God shall surely come true.” (TLB)
“For with God nothing is ever impossible.” (AMP)
“God can do anything!” (NCV)

Mary’s response to this bold promise was sure and swift: “May your word to me be fulfilled” (Luke 1:38). Father God, let us be just as eager to say yes to you, just as quick to offer ourselves to you, just as willing to trust, to believe, to serve, to love.

From the Study Guide

How can we lay aside our doubts, our fears, our cynicism, and recapture our ability to take the Lord at his Word and trust him completely?

I’ve worded this question as “we,” but I need to get more personal than that: How can I lay aside my doubts and fears? By standing up to each one, moment by moment. Maybe because I’ve been parked on Luke 1:37 for the last year, the enemy has been pummeling me with reasons to doubt God’s power, God’s sovereignty, even God’s existence. He’s been throwing tiny pebbles, not rocks—not enough to kill my faith or even wound it—but enough to be a nuisance.

In those doubtful, fearful moments, I step back and let God bring to mind the Scriptures I’ve stored in my heart. Many are The 20 Verses You Love Most. Others are favorites from my spiritual childhood, memorized three decades ago. I remind myself that, because God is with me, then like Gabriel, I stand in his presence. God will fight the adversary for me and God will, absolutely, win.

Now it’s your turn

Two simple questions:

  • Was there something in Chapter Three that impacted you?
  • What would it take for you to say with all your heart, as Mary did, “I live to do God’s will”?

Kindly share your response under Post a Comment below. As you know from reading various quotes sprinkled throughout The Women of Christmas, I cherish your words and the encouragement you offer one another.

If you missed my earlier posts, you’ll find links to them below. Want your own copy of The Women of Christmas? Here’s the best price I found online this week.

Bless you for making time to study God’s Word together during this busy season. Our next chapter is my editor’s favorite. I hope you’ll find it meaningful as well.

Your sister, Liz

P.S. You can watch me teach this chapter, recorded live, in the closing segment of Christmas at the Farm. Just start the video on my website page, then move the playback slider ahead to 53:45. When time permits, I hope you’ll watch the whole webcast and hear Ann Voskamp share from her heart about The Greatest Gift. We had so much fun. Thanks for joining us!

Ann and Liz Laughing at the Farm


67 Responses to The Women of Christmas: The Virgin Mother Kind

  1. Angela Melton November 27, 2013 at 11:12 am #

    The thought that keeps coming to my mind is She was 12! I know it was common then for a young girl to get married and have her own home at 12 but she was 12! That child like belief was greater than most of us grown ups could ever have! I wish daily for a child like unquestionable belief!!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 27, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

      I know, right? Boggles the mind! I’m sure those among us who have 12-year-old daughters can REALLY relate. Oh, to be more childlike in my faith. Trusting, believing, saying yes.

  2. Dawn November 27, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    Loved the webcast and am waiting for your book to arrive in the mail. Thanks for all of your sharing and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 27, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

      Wonderful, Dawn. So glad to have you with us here. Like the webcast, these blogs will remain on my website for many seasons to come, so feel free to catch up with your reading as time permits. Joyous holidays to you!

  3. Debbie November 27, 2013 at 11:58 am #

    Just want to Thank you Liz, you’ve enriched my life so much.
    I’ve read most all of your books The Bad Girls series for sure.
    And now this study on the Women of Christmas. I thought of the
    Holy Sprit in me, yet somehow I never associated Him to the Baby
    Jesus and Mary. This thought was so whole to me like a complete
    Oneness had filled my heart. It an amazing what we learn when we share
    In Gods word. As for my fears I’ve turned to God He is faithful to see us
    Through. I will look to Praise Him, read his Promises and remember His
    Truthfulness. Thank you again Deb

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 27, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

      “Christ in us”…breathtaking, yes? Truly a gift from God!

  4. Mitzi November 27, 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    I love how you can go from they mystery of God’s choosing Mary, to a photo and bit of teeth and lips, back to the wonder of Jesus. Love it! 🙂

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 27, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

      Tee-hee. Thanks for meandering down all those winding paths with me, Mitzi. Whenever possible, I like to be unpredictable.

  5. joanna mclaughlin November 27, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    “May it be to me according to your word”, fulfilling your word, proving your word. living your Word, believing your word. trusting your word, loving your word and speaking your word. I want to start my day, every day, “May it be to me according to your word”. What a difference His Word has made in my life. I love God’s word. I love this bible study. And I am grateful I went to the conference in Hartford, Conn. It has changed my life. Thank you Liz, for your courage to do what God has called you to do.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 27, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

      Joanna, I am truly GIVING THANKS this season for all that God is doing in your life. We loved having you with us at Women of Faith in Hartford. May this Christmas season be your best yet because of your rekindled faith in the One whose birth we celebrate!

  6. Annette November 27, 2013 at 2:24 pm #

    I have not been able to get The Women of Christmas yet but I am finding that I am able to say His Will Be Done when my back is up against a wall and can feel God in front of me and all around me. I do not have an escape or way to run but I have a choice: To rant and rave or A choice to believe !! I am finding that my joy is found in this place. God has me square in His eyes and has a plan for me !!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 27, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

      Believing is SO much better than ranting and raving, Annette. Well done!

  7. cathy gross November 27, 2013 at 2:57 pm #

    At her young age, some how, some way she already knew that she could trust her God. She trusted Him with a childlike faith, though she knew the ways of the world to some extent because she knew how children are conceived. I was thirty until I began to realize I can trust Him. Now I can say it at fifty-nine knowing that trusting Him does not alleviate suffering. Yet I say, to my Abba, my mighty God, do as You will with me. May the autumn and winter of my life be of greater service to Him than my earlier seasons.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 27, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

      I think every year we live and breathe we have MORE to offer God, Cathy. I truly do. Maybe not as much energy, but lots more experience. Our eyesight may be waning, but our wisdom is waxing! Give it all away for God, is my theory, and I know we are kindred spirits in that. God bless you!

  8. Sheila November 27, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    Highly favored – that blows my mind! When I read the comment that we as believers have a purpose given by God for our lives which means, that just like Mary, we are highly favored by God, too. Doesn’t it just take your breath away to be highly favored by the Creator of the universe.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 27, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

      Yes, it most certainly does, Sheila! Thanks for sharing your joy here.

  9. Marie November 27, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    We can only image how precious little Mary must if felt in her heart and soul!!! Beautiful. Thank you Liz and Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

  10. Sue November 27, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    “God didn’t choose Mary because she was special. Mary was special because God chose her.” I love this! Thank you, Liz for these words. On the eve of facing the 1st Thanksgiving since my husband died 10 months ago, I am mindful of the blessings God has chosen to bestow on me, how He is moving my life forward, and the doors He is opening for me I may not have seen before. He is good and faithful and always with us!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 27, 2013 at 7:43 pm #

      Sue, I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow as you give thanks while your wounds continue to heal. It’s clear that God has stepped in as your husband and provider (Isaiah 54:5), and you are so right: He is good and faithful!

      • Sue November 29, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

        Thank you, Liz. God gave us a supernatural peace yesterday! It was a beautiful day!
        PS Watched you & Ann on “Christmas on the Farm” & just got your book & hers! Love you two….God is using you both in so many lives! Am always blessed by your words and insights!

    • Robin Zarate November 28, 2013 at 8:47 am #

      Sue, I read your words this morning and it takes me back many years ago when I was first a young widow 11 months at Thanksgiving. May I say I see Mary’s response was simple but complete trust. I see that also in your words dear one, one day at a time..(sometimes one moment at a time through the holidays) a heart that wants to trust in our Father’s love, faithfulness and care. I will be praying for you today as you give thanks with a grateful heart for all God has given even during this time of loss.

      • Sue November 29, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

        Thank you, Robin, for your kind words!

  11. Nicole Shuglo November 28, 2013 at 4:21 am #

    What would it take for you to say with all your heart, as Mary did, “I live to do God’s will”?

    What a lovely thought to treasure as I sit in the early morning stillness (only the Lord & I up in this house yet!) and, later, to carry with me as I embark outside the door and into a new day with new challenges… tougher to hold onto this thought when ‘God’s will’ may take us a little outside outside of our comfort zone- or, like Mary, WAAAAY into new territory altogether! I pray that I, like Mary, may trust that the Lord’s direction is sure and trustworthy- and that his power working in us provides more than we can ever ask or imagine!

    Something from this chapter that impacted me (penciled in circles and exclamation points being a sure sign), is that “while we go about our daily tasks, God’s divine plan is unfolding” (p. 44). God is Lord over all, and our lives- every little corner- matters to Him!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 28, 2013 at 10:48 am #

      Beautiful thoughts, Nicole. I’m glad that line struck you, because it made me shiver when I wrote it, just thinking about that absolute reality. In the unseen world around us, God is ever busy on our behalf. If we could just catch a glimpse of that (and I think we do in his Word), it would utterly change how we see this life…and eternity!

  12. Linda H November 28, 2013 at 8:07 am #

    Amazing to realize that Mary was not chosen by God because she was special, but was special because God chose her and me!!! I am always overwhelmed when I see those words. I forget how much that matters in my life when trying to please everyone. Doing what everyone else desires. I must surrender first to my Lord and seek Him and know His will above everything. I must begin to believe how special I truly am to the Lord. Stop questioning and holding back. Filled up with the Lord’s love and goodness will change my life!! Blessed this Thanksgiving Day!!! Loved Christmas on the Farm!!! It totally blessed my day.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 28, 2013 at 10:52 am #

      Oh, Linda, I so get “doing what everyone else desires.” In fact, I retweeted a quote this week that really spoke to me: “The greatest weakness in the church today is that the servants of God keep looking over their shoulder for the approval of men.” —R.C. Sproul

      Please, Lord, may we look to YOU ALONE for affirmation and confirmation. You have already assured us in your Word you love us unconditionally. Let that be enough for us. Fill up our hunger to be commended and applauded and approved of and let us rest in you, this day of Thanksgiving and always.

  13. Denise M November 28, 2013 at 8:28 am #

    If you ever get the opportunity to find the children’s Christmas book titled “The Nativity” which has been illustrated by Julie Vivas, you will absolutely love how she depicted the angel Gabriel! He has some nice wings, but he comes to Mary while she’s hanging clothes out on the line. They have their discussion over a cup of coffee at the table! And the pictures of Mary’s journey to Bethlehem really put the story into real life!
    Thank you for your writing and studying and sharing of the truths in the Word of God so that we can be taught and edified and blessed during this Christmas season!

  14. Beth S. November 28, 2013 at 9:36 am #

    I can’t help but think of Mark Lowry’s song “Mary, Did You Know?” Hearing him sing it at the Women of faith conference in Indianapolis in August was unforgettable. Did she know? That young..did she know???

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 28, 2013 at 11:10 am #

      I love that song, Beth, and the dear man who wrote it. Mark is a very special guy. And I’m thrilled you were with us for WOF Indianapolis!

      Mary truly did NOT know Jesus would walk on water or heal the blind, but Gabriel DID prepare her for “when your kiss your little baby, you have kissed the face of God” when he told her, “So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.” Still, who could really grasp the truth of that, especially at age 12! Amazing young woman. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Julie Sunne November 28, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    “God didn’t choose Mary because she was special. Mary was special because God chose her.” That’s the truth I need to camp in. Without Christ I am nothing, but in Christ I find myself loved and worthy–special as you say. Only when I live in the power of the Holy Spirit can I proclaim, “I live to do God’s will.” Blessings, Sister!

  16. Karen Bousquet November 28, 2013 at 11:46 am #

    OK!! its been hitting me over and over for awhile now!! “CHOSEN”….and all I had to do was say yes! What a beautiful story of Mary’s answer!! Also how God provided a sister (relative Elizabeth) to go through the process with Mary…..encourage, stand alongside, bless, teach, love, share… just like today we have sisters in the Lord!! (Liz you are such a special sister) Love, love this book!!!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 30, 2013 at 11:41 pm #

      So fun, to see you taking these truths and running with them, Karen.

  17. Elisabeth Allen November 28, 2013 at 2:29 pm #

    Love this … thank you, Liz, for sharing as ever! 🙂

  18. Lisa November 28, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

    I think that when we realize that we are here to do God’s will not our own will, it changes our perspective. How many of us wake up in the morning, jump out of bed and ask OK Lord, what is it that you want me to do today? I know I don’t all the time. Sometimes I am worried about the meeting I have to attend and what I am going to wear.
    When we are quiet and truly and realize that the Lord is waiting to see if we are going to do what he asks us to do, or try to do things on our own, it truly changes our perspective. When we are quiet and listen, amazing things happen and all the struggles of the past dissipate. Miracles happen when we just believe!

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 30, 2013 at 11:42 pm #

      “Thy will be done.” Easily prayed, not so easily lived out, eh? At least, not at my house! Thanks for adding your voice to the discussion, Lisa.

  19. Robin November 28, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    The teaching in this chapter that stimulated me to read & reread was “‘The Lord is with you’ (Luke 1:28). This wasn’t a blessing, like the ones we often find in Scripture…. This was a statement of fact. Not God will be or may be or could be with her. Gabriel said, “ADONAI is with you!’ (CJB) (p. 46).” Sometimes I focus my attention on His promises. Sometimes I may wish for “mystical” experiences. Perhaps instead I need to focus on the truths and statements of fact and my position in Him that He has already revealed & accomplished that are already present tense (not future). I wonder if I actually practiced doing this, if my heart would be more willing to say, “as Mary did, ‘I live to do God’s will'”?

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 30, 2013 at 11:48 pm #

      Good for you, Robin. Focusing on facts rather than feelings, on wisdom rather than what we might experience at any given moment, is definitely a move in the right direction.

  20. Louella Hoffman November 29, 2013 at 4:45 am #

    What stands out to me is that Mary accepts the fact that an messenger from God had told her this news.. Would I believe so easily this news? Would I question or try to second guess Him? It brings to mind the verse: “For I know the plans I have for you”.God knew that Mary would be faithful. What does He know about me?

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 30, 2013 at 11:49 pm #

      GREAT question, Louella: “What does He know about me?” Of course, the answer is, EVERYTHING. Your past, your present, your future, your state of mind, your state of heart, your motives, your emotions…wow. It would be SCARY if God didn’t love us so much!

  21. Lori Yancey November 29, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    I need to stop asking “Why?” And just believe and start asking”How?”

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 30, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

      Your sisters are right there with you, Lori.

  22. Tonya November 30, 2013 at 6:58 am #

    “God did not have Plan A, Plan B, Plan C. Mary was the Plan!” Such a simple, yet profound statement! The same is true for us. We are the ones who make contingency plans, while I imagine God just sits back and says…”ok, my child, if you must do this, I will wait patiently…” If God knew us before creation, why can’t we trust Him in the small details? That’s when relationship comes in…we have to know God so intimately…as Mary did…and trust in His plan for us…and for our children. He is faithful, true, merciful, loving, and full of grace. Praise Him.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 30, 2013 at 11:50 pm #

      He IS, Tonya…all those marvelous attributes and more!

  23. Alana Morgan November 30, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    Hi Liz,

    LOVED the webcast! Looked like such fun.

    What stands out to me so far is the sweet simplicity of the events. I’m sure this is in part due to the era of simpler times and because of the simplicity the focus on the Lord and His messengers is more commonplace. Nowadays I can imagine surfing the web to check for validity instead of leaning on Him and His promises. Love, Love, Love the book. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.

    • Liz Curtis Higgs November 30, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

      That IS a wild image–Mary surfing the ‘Net, trying to find out more about Gabriel! Yes, things were simpler then, but in a spiritual sense, they are even more amazing now. Because of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of his children, when he speaks to us, it’s every bit as real (and life changing) as Gabriel speaking directly to Mary. Wow.

  24. Carol November 30, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

    I love your thought – Mary being young and Elizabeth being old…I am in the ‘older’ part of life and have fallen in love with my younger sisters! We need each other in so many different ways, just as Mary needed Elizabeth’s words when she knocked on her door! Sweet encouragement for each other. Thanks for bringing that to my attention. And I love the book and the study and YOU! CHRISTmas blessings!

  25. Liz Curtis Higgs November 30, 2013 at 11:57 pm #

    It IS such a blessing that these Women of Christmas represented three different generations, three different marital statuses, and three different ways of serving the Messiah. Elizabeth’s child prepared the way, Mary’s child is the Way, and Anna proclaimed the Way to all who longed for his appearing. So glad to have all our sisters with us for this study…at ANY age!

    • Laura December 3, 2013 at 10:20 am #

      This is so poetic, Liz. I copied part of it inside the cover of my copy of “The Women of Christmas.” My next “project” is to write all the versions of Luke 1:37 from above (just before the Study Guide response) and tuck them into the book where that verse is discussed.

  26. Missa December 1, 2013 at 9:40 am #

    What could we accomplish…what could God do IN & THROUGH us if we really ingrained the truth of Luke 1:37 into not only our souls but the fabric of our daily lives?! Like you, I’m experiencing the pebbles of the enemy being launched at me. I’ve resolved to stand firm with the courage of a 12 year old girl named Mary. This song comes to mind:

  27. Laura December 1, 2013 at 1:39 pm #

    Ever since I first read Marjorie Holmes’ “Two from Galilee,” back when I was about the age of Mary during Gabriel’s visit, I have felt such a connection to Mary’s story, longing to also be full of grace and highly favored by God. Thanks, Liz–I see it’s not just a silly teenage-girl fantasy or wishful thinking, but God’s plan, God’s love and God’s working in the life of each of us. Per your blog, “Gabriel’s message for Mary is also God’s word for us . . .” (you can reread the rest of it under the stained glass picture above) and from the book, “her story gives every woman a generous measure of hope.” Then from the sermon I heard this morning, “We are all chosen to bear Christ out into the world.”

  28. Arlene December 1, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    Hello dear Liz:
    I just wanted to “pop in” here and tell you what a blessing “The Women of Christmas” is to my heart. I’ve read the first four chapters. In Ch. 3 you write: “In the same way, while we go about our daily tasks, God’s divine plan is unfolding. At any given moment our lives could change dramatically…..” For me, life changed dramatically the day my husband was diagnosed with cancer back in 2010. It spread to his liver in Jan. 2011. His cancer is incurable, and we have been living under “death’s dark shadows” ever since. I praise God for this dear man. We’ve been married almost 31 years. God continues to sustain him, and right now he is still able to work, but oh, how we need a miracle. When I look into my unknown future, possibly without my husband, I easily spiral downward, and have to remind myself of God–who He is, what His promises are–and that with Him, I am safe and secure. That He does indeed have plans to give me a “future and a hope.”
    God is using your wonderful Christmas devotional to crack open the door of hope again.
    I’ve been living with the reality of my husband’s cancer for quite a while, and sometimes you lose hope. I’m sure Elizabeth gave up hope long ago of ever conceiving, but God burst upon her life in quite a miraculous way, as He did with young Mary. I can still dare to hope, too, and yet, I also have to surrender my hopes to God, and leave the results to Him. He will do what is best for both me and my husband, because He loves us. Of that I am very sure. May you and your family have a blessed Christmas as you celebrate our great Emmanuel!

    In Him,

  29. Marci December 1, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    I was just thinking…if Mary was 13 or so when she gave birth to Jesus, she must have been the Age I am now when he was crucified. Something to ponder about…

  30. Tamara December 2, 2013 at 5:44 am #

    While reading this post I am reminded of something a friend said to me yesterday. “God’s will triumphs!” We were talking about how discouraging comments from another friend almost halted our last adoption and changed the course of our family. I am so grateful that we ultimately ignored the friend and followed God. I need to be constantly reminded to keep following Him especially when I am discouraged.

  31. Cheryl December 2, 2013 at 7:21 am #

    I am so excited about the women of Christmas! I ordered a few copies for my friends for Christmas but would love to give a copy to some friends whom I think it would be so meaningful. Can’t wait to read my copy cover to cover!

  32. Katie Desiato December 2, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    I have a 12 year old daughter, that the week after her birthday this last September, was diagnoised with a brain tumor in her pituitary glad. She had to have surgery quickly due to the pressure and pain the cyst was causing. Her father and I still haven’t slept much since September 9th when we got the news there was “something” in our daughter’s brain! She went through tests, was poked and proded several times. As a nurse, I knew it was important that she go through all of this, as a Mom, I’m still a mess!
    She on the other hand, just quietly walked through this with her faith. She is in confirmation class in ourr church, and she just knew, and still knows, that God is with her. She amazes me everyday! She looks good on the outside, due to the new surgical advances, but a war is still being waged in her body! Blood tests and MRI’s continue. The lesion is still there, but it was benign, making this a rare condition. The doctors and nurses treating her have been wonderful.
    I say all of this because I can truly imagine Mary and her mother and what they went through. If we did not have a strong faith that God would carry us, and walk with us everyday through everything, we would fall apart. I still have moments where it just hits me that my daughter has a brain tumor. How can that be? Why? What did I do?
    So I see Mary with her family, excited and scared, not sure what comes next; How do we deal with this? What do we say to others? I see them doing exactly what we are doing, taking one day at a time, in faith, knowing everything will be as it should, and in God’s hands.
    Our family, friends and church have been amazing, always encourging us, and lifting us up. Iwill be coming to see you this Thursday, and I hope that my duaghter Gloria will be able to join us. She has heard about you her whole life, due to your books and a previous time my mother and I met and spoke with you. She has read your bedtime story book, that you signed for her many years ago. She still wears out quickly from school, and it just might be too late in the evening for her, so we will see.
    So, that is how I see Mary, strong in her faith, and calm in her knowledge that THe Lord will provide. It’s not just a phrase, it is truth! I see it everyday in my own home, in my daughter’s quiet peace and daily struggles. Also I see it in her never failing sense of humor, and her amazing laugh. Due to the location of the lesion, puberty and all that goes with it has haulted, and she may need medications for the rest of her life because of it, but we have seen other symptoms resolve since her surgery and she contniues to heal. I tell people that I might just be the only mother alive praying for puberty! Hopefully that will be my greates Christmas present ever!

    • Laura December 3, 2013 at 10:14 am #

      What a gift to get a real-life glimpse of a twelve-year-old today walking in faith through a very challenging time! Reading your post made Mary’s faith seem so much more real. Thanks for sharing, and I pray that Gloria and you and the rest of your family will continue to experience the grace and peace and healing of our Lord.

      • Katie Desiato December 13, 2013 at 9:06 am #

        We were able to meet and speak with liz right after I wrote this. Gloria , My mother and I went to Comfort and Joy program in Wheaton. Gloria loved the program. It was so nice to spend the evening with them and a friend from church. It really made the Christmas message come alive, and we started feeling like the Season had started. Liz had Gloria come around the table to give her a hug. After my daughter has had to listen to her grandmother and I talk about her for years, she loved hearing her live and meeting her. It truly is a blessing to meet a Christian “Rockstar” in life. We later found an account of a time in Liz’s life that she spoke about in my devotional, and i read it to her. She said” Hey, thats the story she talked about!” with a glow in her eyes. Liz thank you for being so open and available to your fans! It turly is a gift you have! Now a 12 yr old girl is telling her friends about you, and I child that I have to beg to read a book, is grabing my book from me. It made the childrens’ book that you signed yrs ago even more special to her. Please know that you truly do touch so many lives just by being you, an Encourager!!!

  33. Alisha Brazeau December 2, 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    The biggest thing that impacted me was Mary’s age.. When I was 12 I was still playing with Barbies and Baby dolls! It amazes me how different things were back then. Im also shocked by the maturity that Mary had for being only 12 years old. The way she is described and the way that she talked she was more mature then alot of women who are double her age these days! I like to think that when faced with a situation that I would be able to say that I trust God adn give him my all but I know for a fact without a doubt that when it comes to my children there would be no ifs ands or buts about it.

  34. Susan Gruener December 2, 2013 at 11:45 pm #

    Thanks for Christmas at the Farm! You and Ann are my two favorite author/writers! I couldn’t believe you were actually doing this event together – I was thrilled!
    Now to comment on your wonderful post! I loved this story! No one can write about these women like you can. 🙂 I think we all want to ‘believe’ like Mary did…and to say ‘yes’ without much hesitation. I guess I have known the Lord so long (48 years), that I’ve seen over and over again that He has proven Himself that He is all good, and does all things well and perfectly. It doesn’t always end the way I want it to…but I know He sees the ‘big picture’ and sees all the way to the ‘end’ of things. His Word gives me comfort and peace and encourages my soul when I need to hear from Him. I try to remember that we are here on earth for just a short time, in relation to our ‘eternal’ home. Keeping that perspective really helps me to focus on Jesus and not my problem, challenge or ‘hard thing’ at the moment.
    Thanks Liz!
    Praying for you,
    Susan Elizabeth

  35. Kimberley Chandler December 4, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    what has really struck my heart is “God didn’t choose Mary because she was unique or special, but rather she is unique and special because God chose her”. That strikes my heart and speaks volumes, that I am, too, unique and special because He chose me. I have always struggled with the question “God, why do You love me? What is so special about me?”. And now the answer seems so simple, God is what is special about me. it has NOTHING to do with me….NOTHING. This is so liberating and eye opening for me.

    I’m loving this study. Thank you so much for doing this and for your insight.

    In Him….

  36. Sheila December 4, 2013 at 8:08 pm #

    Forgot to mention, loved the webcast. You two are great together. I especially loved your separate readings at the end.

  37. Deborah W December 4, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    Thank-you Liz for including easy access to the scriptures on here!! God created Mary this very special girl to carry out His Perfect will just as He created Gideon, David, Joseph and YOU and Me!! <3 What an Amazing God we serve!!!<3

  38. mamalynne December 6, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    My December is filled with memories of broken promises. This study is reminding me that His promises endure forever. Thanks Liz. Of course I am not keeping up with the others, but I am here. lol. I am parked on “His word never fails” He knows my name and He chose me (just like Mary) Good reminder. I am loved and cherished by the One Who Matters. I just want to act like it.

  39. Linda December 16, 2013 at 10:46 am #

    Liz, when I read your answers/comments here, I feel and see in my imagination an early Spring day when I was 12. Damp, dove-gray clouds with promise of nourishing, cleansing rain and swollen buds on all the trees. And I breathe deep that wonderful, refreshing, earthy smell. I guess I’m saying that your responses are a breath of fresh air, beloved. 🙂