Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas and two miracles

I belong to a LDS group of women dealing with infertility. I don't say much, but I learn from their examples and lean on them for support. Many have reached out for comfort and guidance during this holiday season. Krista, the founder of the group, has reminded us that Christmas is the story of miraculous births. I have been thinking about this a lot this month. When God wants something to be, it will be.

The miraculous birth we celebrate at Christmas, of course, is the baby Jesus born to a virgin Mary. This is the greatest blessing God could give the world. The Bible reads, 'For unto US is born this day'. Jesus wasn't just born to Mary, but to all of us, even those who have no children of our own.

Prior to this immaculate conception, was another miracle.

In Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias who was married to Elisabeth. The bible describes them as 'righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless'.

Unfortunately, Elisabeth was barren and they had no children. In those days, fertility was thought of as a sign of favor before God. I could not imagine the loneliness that Elisabeth must have felt as she grew older and motherhood slipped away.

One day, the angel Gabriel came to Zacharias while he was working at the temple, and spoke these words:

Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.

Zacharias could not believe these words. Elisabeth was too old to have a baby. Because of his unbelief, he was struck dumb. Zacharias stayed in the temple for a long time, thinking about what Gabriel had told him.

Soon, Elisabeth did conceive. Said she,

Thus hath the Lord dealt with me in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach (barrenness) among men.

Not too long after, Elisabeth's cousin Mary was also visited by an angel. Mary learned she would be the mother of the Son of God.

And a few months later:

Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.

And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.

And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.

And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.

And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.

Anytime I begin to have the irrational fear that my infertility is some sort of punishment from God, I remember this story (and others like it). I am no Elisabeth (not even close), but I can gain strength from her example and the knowledge that God has a plan for each of us.

So today, on Christmas, the day we celebrate the miracle of all miracles, I want to take a moment and think of Luke 1:31

For with God nothing shall be impossible.

Merry Christmas.

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I have always loved this Christmas carol, but it has grown to mean so much more to me over the last several years. It urges gratitude for today and offers hope for a happier tomorrow.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on, our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yuletide gay
From now on, our troubles will be far away

Through the years, we all will be together
If the fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough
And have yourself a merry little Christmas now

4 comments:

Emily said...

Beautiful post! I love the story of Elizabeth, thank you for reminding me just how beautiful it is.

I hope your troubles were light this holiday and wish you miracles of your own in the coming year.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Isa said...

I love this story too. Chloe is named after Elisabeth (her middle name). I have been thinking of you and Ryan this holiday season! Sending lots of love and hugs!

Roses Daughter said...

This was a much needed beautiful post!!! I lurk on your blog every now and then, and was plesantly surprised when I read this post. Thanks and Merry Christmas to you too.

B MoM said...

Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing it. Your faith is inspiring. I am also standing on the Lord's promises for a child. may we both be blessed with children in 2009.

FAITH IN GOD MEANS HAVING FAITH IN HIS TIMING.