Imagine if Jesus knocked on your door this Christmas Eve, needing somewhere to stay. Would you have a spare bed to offer him, with clean sheets and fresh towels? Maybe a sofa with a warm blanket? How about a well-used futon from IKEA?
Or would you barely crack open the door, embarrassed, apologizing profusely. “Sorry, Lord. My place is a mess. And I really don’t have anywhere to put you…”
This holy season is about making room for Jesus. Welcoming him into our homes, our families, our lives. Flinging open the door to our hearts.
The women of Christmas did just that, lighting the way for us, showing us how it’s done. They anticipated the Messiah’s coming and longed for his appearing. They cradled God’s promises in their empty arms, knowing they would someday be filled.
They said yes. They waited. They trusted. This week, we’ll begin walking in their footsteps.
Come, Lord Jesus.
Read Chapter One: Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room
Read Luke 1:5–18
Elizabeth, our first woman of Christmas, descended from a long line of priests. She married one as well, and together they were “righteous in the sight of God.” But their neighbors had another word for this God-fearing couple: “childless.”
In ancient Israel a woman’s worth was measured by how many sons she could provide for her husband. No sons? No value.
Elizabeth’s challenge back then remains ours right now: How can we stay faithful to God, even when our prayers seem to go unanswered? Whether we’re praying for a baby to hold or a job to keep the creditors at bay, whether we’re asking for our health to be restored or a broken relationship to be mended, we may sometimes wonder, “Is God listening? Does God care? Will he ever respond?”
The answers are certain: Yes, always. Yes, completely. Yes, in his perfect timing.
The angel Gabriel said to Zechariah, “Do not be afraid.” God is saying that to you as well, beloved. Fear not. I know the desires of your heart. I’ve heard your prayers. Trust me. I’ve got this.
Be assured, when God’s people prayed, “God heard them, for their prayer reached heaven, his holy dwelling place” (2 Chronicles 30:27).
Zechariah doubted. But we have no mention in Scripture that Elizabeth did.
Why did God wait until Elizabeth was older to give her a son? So the glory would be his alone. Miracles are God’s way of saying, “Watch this!” God wanted to be certain the whole world was paying attention.
People said Elizabeth was “unable to conceive” (Luke 1:36), yet God was more than able, more than willing to give her a son. Elizabeth continued saying yes to God. Then, when all was in readiness, God finally said yes to Elizabeth, according to his divine plan laid out before the world began.
That’s the whole of this chapter in a single word: Now.
Take a moment to read this week’s passage in The Voice, a unique translation that gives us a fuller picture of that time and place. Then, I’ll share my answers to one or more of the Study Guide questions featured in the back pages of The Women of Christmas. I’ll be right here when you’re ready…
From the Study Guide
1. Elizabeth is described as righteous, blameless, and honorable. Look through Proverbs 31:10–31, then choose the verses that best describe how a godly woman in biblical times might have lived out her faith in practical, day-to-day ways.
I’m already in trouble, since every verse in this familiar passage describes godly women through the ages! Here are just a few standouts that might suit Elizabeth:
A wife of noble character who can find? Proverbs 31:10
Even in days of old, such women were rare birds, putting character above all else. Rather than caring about how she looked to others, Elizabeth would have focused on what she did for others, taking care to always be above reproach.
Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. Proverbs 31:11
As a wife, she would have been trustworthy and generous to Zechariah, consistently delivering on her promises without emptying his coin purse.
She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. Proverbs 31:13
Think of how rough these items would have been on a woman’s hands: freshly sheared wool (makes me itch to think about it), and flax plants that had to be soaked in stagnant water (ewww) to break down the fibers before they could be woven into linen. Yet Elizabeth would have done such taxing work with eager hands. Impressive.
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. Proverbs 31:20
Elizabeth would have undoubtedly given generously to a first-century counterpart of World Vision, providing for those in greatest need. Even if we have no children living under our roofs, we can help care for the children of the world.
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Proverbs 31:30
However old Elizabeth might have been, her fear of the Lord was never far from her thoughts, and her love for the Lord never faded from her countenance. While some may have looked down on her for her barrenness, God only looked down on her with love.
If you know a modern Elizabeth, what specific things does she do that you find exemplary?
Here’s the crazy truth: two women in my life come to mind who qualify as modern Elizabeths, and both are named…Elizabeth!
These women are both exceptional hostesses, opening their doors to friends and strangers alike. Both have homes that exude warmth, and purses that quietly open whenever an opportunity arises to give. Both honor their husbands and love them dearly, yet have lives of their own, spent serving others. And both women look really good in fine linen and purple!
How might these women from the past and present inspire you to change the way you’ll serve God in the future?
Sadly, I am not a confident hostess. I love being with friends, but am more likely to say, “Let’s meet somewhere,” rather than “Come to our place.” I’ve decided to (gulp) open our door once a week through December. Even if it’s hot chocolate from a box and cookies from Kroger, I’m going for it.
I’m also inspired by Elizabeth’s patience. After years of doing, doing, doing for God, I’m beginning to realize that simply waiting on the Lord pleases him even more. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Psalm 27:14).
Now it’s your turn
Two simple questions this week:
- Was there something in Chapter One that struck a chord with you?
- How does Elizabeth’s faithfulness inspire you?
Kindly share your response under Post a Comment below. I’ll be eager to read what you have to say!
Don’t have a copy of The Women of Christmas yet? Here’s the best price I’ve found online. Consider buying one for a friend and inviting her to join us. Or you might gather with several women for a Bible Study.
However you choose to enter in to this sacred season, I’m so glad we’re doing it together.
Your sister, Liz