December 20, 2015: Honoring God Is a Joyfilled Experience!

Let us pray: Dear Savior, as You once caused the developing John the Baptist to leap for joy in his mother’s womb at Your coming, cause our hearts to leap for joy today. For today You come to us with Your essence of truth, love, life, and forgiveness. You, Who are the Word made flesh, come through Your word to fill our hearts and souls with the good things of heaven, the good things of God. What a treasure You are! May we always treasure You in our hearts just as did Mary, Elizabeth, and John. Amen


TEXT: Luke 1: 39-55

Dearly Beloved By Christ:

Right now we have two ladies in our church who are with child. We are blest with two couples who, Lord willing, will give birth to a baby this next year. That’s exciting for them as parents and for all of you as their extended Christian family!

Every society, every generation has valued children and deferred to expectant mothers. The old custom of giving a pregnant woman your seat on a train, or opening doors for them is not sexist, it’s reverential. That’s because babies hold the future in their little hands. They literally are the lifeblood of every generation. Today we meet two other expectant mothers and their two sons-to-be: Elizabeth, Mary, John, and Jesus. Certainly every child is a gift from God and every one of them is vitally important. Yet, the interaction between these two second cousins raises the importance quotient exponentially. That’s because all human souls were impacted by them. So let’s see just how.


The virgin Mary, probably around 16 years of age, has just been visited by the archangel Gabriel who announced to her that she would miraculously conceive via the Holy Spirit’s power and 9 months later give birth to the very Son of God—her Lord and Savior. Soon thereafter Mary journeys to the hill country of Judea to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was about 6 months pregnant with the future John the Baptist. She arrived at the house and “When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!'”

Wow! This was the 1st recorded worship of Jesus Christ another human being! Double Wow—it was worship coming from a baby still in his mother’s womb! Obviously, this was a totally miraculous event. The Spirit somehow conveyed the knowledge to John of exactly who had come into the room—the little fetus of Jesus. And John’s response, even as a developing baby in the womb was one of pure joy! He leaped for joy at meeting Christ!

It doesn’t matter your age, but do you leap for joy when Christ meets you? Does your heart flutter and does happiness flood over your entire being when God’s Son comes to you? Is that your response when you hear His Word of truth, when you ponder the miracle of your baptism, when He forgives you all your sins, and when He feeds your soul on His Holy Supper? If it isn’t, then perhaps you should spend these next few days before Christmas to personally ponder why and how and how much God loves little old you—in Christ? Perhaps you should think hard about what you would be as a person without Him?


Isn’t it interesting how Elizabeth knew all about Mary’s situation? She knew she was pregnant. She knew it was going to be a virgin birth. She knew exactly Who now resided in Mary’s womb. She knew because the Spirit had schooled her and she believed in all those ancient prophesies about the coming Messiah. And so Elizabeth the older cousin, honors her younger counterpart with a blessing. “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”

In response to all this, Mary gives voice to her joy in the form of praising God Almighty for choosing her to be the earthly mother of God’s Son. Her “song” has come down to us and bears the title: “The Magnificat.” She glorifies God in it, not herself. She rejoices over God’s blessing to her, not in her own worthiness. She even knows a bit of the future in this: “From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name.” Mary knows that she, like us, is a sinful human being. She knows that she didn’t cause any of this—God alone is the author of both her and our future salvation. Right here, her Son’s later words: “God humbles the proud but exalts the humble” are being played out in the words of His mother—before He was even born! Yes, by the Spirit’s indwelling through faith, Mary knew the future of all humankind. And she especially remembers to include in her words us, the faithful progeny of Abraham: “He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.”


All pregnant mothers-to-be are a bit awed over their condition. When they get together they will talk about it and marvel over it. They will almost simultaneously laugh, cry, become very serious, and also be scared yet joyful. All our mothers felt exactly that way about each of us. But for the Christian mother something far more is included into the pre-birth equation. It is a deep, profound thankfulness to God for making it all possible. A thankfulness that really begins right here in our lesson with both Elizabeth and Mary giving all glory to God in using them to work out our and their salvation. So, no matter whether you are male or female, young or old, a parent or not—every one of us had a mother and every one of us learned from them that: Honoring God Is a Joyfilled Experience! Amen