In Luke 1, the writer gives us the story before the story. He introduces us to three people with key roles in the soon-unfolding Christmas narrative. Each of these three lends a voice of praise with a theme that weaves itself throughout the story of Christ’s birth and through the greater redemption story. Today let’s consider Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin and the mother of John the Baptist. Elizabeth is the voice of joy.
In Luke 1:42 Elizabeth greets Mary. She said in a loud voice, “You are the most blessed of all women, and blessed is the child that you will have.” This is a huge statement. It is unlikely that Mary had any support at home for her pregnancy. Her family, if they knew, were no doubt very glad to have Mary go away, away from the town gossips. After a long trip alone, she arrives unannounced at the home of the Elizabeth and Zacharias. This couple was known to be devout and exemplary in character. Would Elizabeth believe the story about the angel? About the miraculous conception? All of those questions were resolved with this greeting.
Notice Luke says, “She said in a loud voice.” Some commentators suggest that he phrased it this way to indicate that Elizabeth was making a prophetic pronouncement at the prompting of the Holy Spirit. God revealed to Elizabeth that Mary was carrying a baby before Mary had a chance to say anything.
Are we sensitive to the Holy Spirit like Elizabeth was? Are we living the kind of life that allows Him to work in us?
In verse 43 the voice of joy further declares, “And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Not only was Mary carrying a baby, that baby was the Lord. Whether or not Elizabeth understood everything she was saying, she affirmed the incarnation, the Word made flesh. To confirm the truth and the joy in that statement the baby inside Elizabeth leaped and kicked. Mary didn’t have to explain anything. The Holy Spirit made it plain.
Elizabeth shows us to be alert and aware of the presence of Christ, and to rejoice that He is here.
Finally, in verse 45, Elizabeth says, “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” There is joy because the promises of God are true, because He is doing and will do what He said.
What promises has God fulfilled in your life? Does that fill you with joy? If so, are you sharing it? If not, why not?
If you have extra time this season, notice how many times joy and its forms appear in the first two chapters of Luke. Elizabeth, the voice of joy, reminds us in this season of stress, of uncertainty, of confusion that God’s plan has not been put on hold. Because of that, there is joy. You can say so with a loud voice!