I often think of Elizabeth during the Christmas Season. As the mother of John the Baptist, she takes a backseat to Mary. I don’t believe that position bothered her at all. Like his mother, John the Baptist did the same for Jesus. Each were a confirmation and preparation for Christ, our Lord; and John the Baptist and Elizabeth played their parts well.
Can you imagine when Zechariah came home from the temple that day. Oh the thoughts that must have entered Elizabeth’s mind? Probably, the story of Abraham and Sarah flowed through her heart. Scripture tells us, “Abraham fell face down; he laughed and said to himself, ‘Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?'” Elizabeth did not doubt the possibility because she knew of God’s miracle in Isaac, the son of Sarah and Abraham. She knew what God had done before, and she willingly accepted the miracle.
Luke 1:23-25 says, “When his time of service was completed, he (Zachariah) returned home. After this, his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. ‘The Lord has done this for me,’ she said. ‘In these days He has shown His favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.'”
It is God’s love “in action” which enabled Elizabeth to believe. She had suffered disgrace and ridicule because she was unable to give Zachariah a child. I don’t know, but I can imagine, Zachariah’s family criticized him for even keeping her as a wife. A man’s family name was extremely important. His lineage would not stand because of this barren woman. And the women of the village, the emptiness Elizabeth must have felt as they carried water with a baby on one hip, toddlers behind them, and Elizabeth worked alone. Nothing to show. No visible signs of her womanhood.
But when she realized the news, she saw it for what it was. A blessing from the Lord. A visible, outward expression of the Lord’s love for her. Elizabeth could have spent time guarding her heart, protesting the pain of an empty nest for so long. No one would have condemned her for such. The lines on her face, the gray in her hair, the lost time, all gave her a right to feel rejected; yet, she rejoiced.
How many of us do not realize the blessing because we are so caught up in the pain of the past?
It is obvious why God gave the fulfillment of Elijah’s Old Testament prophecy to Elizabeth, a woman of grace and faith, to raise the man who would prepare the way of the Lord.
Recognizing God’s favor in our lives is an outward expression of His love and our faith. Today, we need to do some counting – of our blessings – that is. And like Elizabeth, we need to express gratefully, ‘He has shown His favor.'”