As I prepare for another Christmas season, I find myself reading Luke 1:39-45 repeatedly as the Holy Spirit reveals something new with each reading.
“In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.’” (ESV)
My favorite part of the Christmas narrative (this year) does not occur in Bethlehem, but rather in the hill country of Judah.
An expectant Mary does what most women in her condition do; they seek council from another woman. In her case, the betrothed virgin traveled to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who was expecting a child of her own. I’m sure they compared maternity experiences and traded advice on the process of carrying a child, but something amazing happened.
When Mary greeted her cousin, the babe in Elizabeth’s womb leaped for joy. The fetal position – usually one of stillness – became a place of excitement in anticipation of the unborn child.
Of course, we know that the unborn babe in Elizabeth’s womb was none other than John the Baptist, and the babe in Mary’s womb was the Messiah that would soon make His entrance into this world.
It thrills me to think of the pre-natal prophet’s excitement. Why was he overwhelmed with joy? I believe it was for two reasons: Jesus was coming soon and John was charged with preparing the world for Jesus.
Every believer should be stirred with excitement and celebrate with great joy. Why? Because Jesus is coming soon, and we have been charged with preparing the world for His arrival.
If an unborn child can get excited, we can too. Oh that we too would find ourselves this Christmas in the fetal position. Maranatha!
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Cameron McGill is pastor of Dublin First Baptist Church and the newly elected president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.)