Today's Devotional Thought
December 07, 2012 by Rachel Piferi
Blessed by Community
Last night, we had a Christmas Party for the ladies at our church. It was a great evening of fellowship and laughter and talking and fun. At one point, I sat back and just watched as ladies laughed and talked and took a couple of hours to just relax in a busy season.
One of the things that the Lord has strongly impressed upon my heart in the last few years is the importance of Christian community. The importance of brothers and sisters in Christ who can spur you on when the journey gets tough, cry with you when the journey gets sad, and celebrate with you at the thought that the journey ends with a glorious reunion with Jesus Christ.
You see the importance of community in the early parts of the Christmas story when Mary seeks out a sister in the Lord after the angel tells her that she is carrying the Christ child.
Can you imagine being an unmarried teenaged girl who was just visited by an angel and being told that you are pregnant with the Messiah?
Being visited by an angel would be overwhelming in and of itself. Being visited by an angel and being told that the Lord had special plans for you would also be overwhelming in and of itself. But, being visited by an angel and being told that you are going to be at the center of just about the biggest event in the history of the world is really overwhelming. I think I'd need a friend to help me process that.
If we look at the second chapter of Luke, we see that Mary hurried to see Elizabeth after the angel gives her the news that she is pregnant with the Savior. We know that this would have been a trip of about 80-100 miles to visit Elizabeth and would have taken about a week or more to get there. So, of all of the people that she could have turned to in this time, why did Mary turn to Elizabeth? What about her parents? Was there no one in her town who she could have turned to?
We are not told anything about Mary's parents in this story. Were they alive? Were they accepting of this news? Did they reject her? We don't know. What we do know is that Mary left quickly to visit Elizabeth when she heard the news of the child growing inside of her. And, we know that she stayed with Elizabeth for about three months.
I can only imagine the conversations that these women must have had over the course of those three months. We know that Elizabeth greeted Mary instantly with love and respect and showed great understanding for what was transpiring. Mary must have felt such warmth and love and acceptance from Elizabeth. And both women knew what it was like to experience a miracle from God. Both women had conceived when science and logic would have told them it was impossible. But, as the angel said in Luke 2, "Nothing is impossible with God."
I think it is important to note that the Angel is the one who told Mary that Elizabeth was also pregnant. In some ways, it seems as if the Lord was showing Mary who she should turn to. The Lord knew who would be best for Mary. And, it was someone who also was experiencing an amazing gift from the Lord. Someone who could support her and strengthen her as she accepted her role as the mother of the Savior. Someone who could be that safe place to go process the news of her pregnancy and to gain strength and love from.
Isn't it amazing that the Lord sends people to us when we need them the most? When David needed a friend, the Lord sent Jonathan. When Naomi needed a friend, the Lord gave her Ruth. God is so loving that He gives us people to love us through our most challenging times. And, nothing could be more challenging than being an unmarried teenaged girl who has just been told that she has been chosen to be the mother of the Messiah. When Mary needed a friend and a safe haven, the Lord provided Elizabeth.
And friends, he will do that for you too. There is a community of believers out there that will love you, support you, and challenge you to be all that the Lord wants you to be. I pray you have that community. But if you don't, my prayer is that you will seek a local church with a strong women's ministry and meet sisters in Christ like Elizabeth.
The Lord provides community when we need it and I pray you seek that community today. Just like Mary was blessed by Elizabeth, I promise you it will bless you beyond measure.