The Hope of Shared Joy
Tuesday - December 8th
"Hope is Here" Advent Devotionals - Day 8
Scripture to Read Today: Luke 1:57-66
Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy.
After Mary spent time with her cousin Elizabeth, Elizabeth gave birth to her son. Remember this is elderly Elizabeth, the wife of Zechariah, the priest who met the angel Gabriel inside the temple. Gabriel told Zechariah that he and Elizabeth would have a son and that their son would be the forerunner to the Messiah, promised by the Old Testament prophets. Zechariah could not believe the promise of the child because he and Elizabeth were old and had no children.
Because of His unbelief, Zechariah was made mute - he could not speak. Toward the end of today's passage (Luke 1:57-66), Zechariah clarifies that the child's name was John as the angel had told Zechariah to name the baby boy. Instantly, Zechariah could speak. But, for nine months, he had uttered not a word.
Luke makes it clear that Zechariah and Elizabeth kept the pregnancy secret. They probably had celebrated many pregnancies with family and friends in their child-bearing years and were crushed by another miscarriage. So, this time, at old age, they kept things quiet until the baby arrived. I love how the passage describes the response of neighbors, relatives, and friends at this baby's birth. "Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy" (Luke 1:58). When they heard the mercy of God in giving Zechariah and Elizabeth a healthy baby boy, they shared in their joy.
Do you share in the joy others have in blessings God sends their way? Or, do you ask, "Why them and not me?" Often, we cannot celebrate the blessings in other people's lives because we are so focused on our own lives' bareness. We should find hope as we share in the joy of others. Hope for us often comes as we notice the good hand of God in the lives of other brothers and sisters in Christ.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were blessed to bring into the world the one who would point to the Messiah. They were blessed after years of pain and disappointment to have a baby. Their neighbors and relatives blessed them by sharing in their joy.
Look for friends and relatives in your life that are currently experiencing the good hand of God in their lives. Find ways to celebrate with them. Let the joy of others lift your hope in God and His redeemer - the Messiah.
We can embrace the hope of God while celebrating His blessing in the lives of others! We can share in their joy!