Welcome to this week’s lesson of our study, The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs. What a wonderful week chapters one and two provided! We watched a miracle unfold! It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas isn’t it? The real reason we celebrate.
Travel back with me to the very first Christmas you remember where you wanted that certain present more than anything in the world and you just were not sure that you would get it. But even at that age, your hope and faith in your parents, grandparents, in Santa was so strong that you just couldn’t wait to wake up on Christmas morning!
This week we meet Elizabeth, our first woman of Christmas, and her husband. A loving and serving couple, busy doing the work of God in their community. Our author reminds us of the greatest gift God gave us many years ago and what it meant to us:
- Love, unwrapped in swaddling clothes
- Hope, nestled in a manger
Imagine, these two gifts. Timeless, freely given and unblemished. Gifts that travel both sides of eternity. No expiration date, no expired warranty. Freely given, though not always accepted. Pause for a moment and think about this…if you had a small box of hope or love sitting beside you, what would it look like inside that box?
Inside my small box would be the name Jesus. Yes, not a specific thing or request, just His name. A name that has the power to heal, save, redeem, a name like no other, a name that just by speaking it can change my situation, your situation, all situations. Don’t you want to open your gift now? Are you preparing room in your heart for Him?
We see God’s power and strength working in the lives of Elizabeth and her husband, “blessings piled on their heads” as Liz Curtis Higgs describes it. They received these blessings because they opened their hearts to the gift. So my question for you is…have you opened your heart to receive His gift too? Where is your heart this time of year? Some of you may have “heart arteries” clogged with financial worries, relationship struggles or unbalanced health. When your focus is on your troubles, then your clogged heart is not focused on God. Zechariah and Elizabeth prepared their hearts to receive the gift, through obedience and relationship with the Lord.
In this week’s reading, our author tells us that “Believing is what Christmas is all about. Believing Jesus is the Son of God. Believing he was born of a virgin. Believing he came to earth to rescue us from our doubts and save us from our sins.” Do you still believe?
Our author tells us that It’s one thing to believe in Jesus and celebrate Christmas with family and friends. On a deeper level, do you believe that Our Lord is bigger than your troubles and He would bless you with your own miracle?
Now, let’s revisit our trip down memory lane from above and fast forward to an older version of yourself, when the wishes are much bigger and more emotional: for a healing, for a child to turn to God, for addiction, financial blessings. We still have the hope and faith that all will be well, but because our journey has been challenged at times, we forget that blind and innocent faith from our childhood. I invite you to pick it back up and believe God for your miracle today!
Remember what the Word says in Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” (NIV) Amazing isn’t it?
My Sisters, just as Elizabeth soon discovered that no matter her age, God still saw her as precious in His sight, God still would bless her and provide her with her miracle…. He is the same God that He was back then, and He is ready to do the same for you, and you, and you, and you and for me.
Will you believe?
Will you prepare room in your heart for Him?
Will you open your heart and receive your blessing and miracle?
Get Ready. Get Prepared. To Receive your miracle.
ASSIGNMENT FOR THE WEEK:
- Read Chapter Three and Chapter Four in your book or e-book.
- Come and meet the women in this study when you join a small group meeting at: http://www.facebook.com/groups/WBCSmallGroups/
- Read Luke 1:5-18
- Prepare for the Christmas season and this study with prayer, begin to let go of the place holders in your heart and prepare room for Him.
Tweet or Facebook Share with Hashtag #WomenOfChristmas
- “God takes us as we are and uses us as he will, for our good and for his glory.” – Liz Curtis Higgs
- “That’s the real test of our faith, isn’t it? To believe that God’s promises are true – not just in theory, but in our everyday lives.” – Liz Curtis Higgs
- “God sees you as well, beloved, with compassion in his eyes.” – Liz Curtis Higgs
- “What we call miraculous, God calls business as usual.” – Liz Curtis Higgs
- In the end the women of Christmas quietly stepped aside, making room for the One who truly matters.” -Liz Curtis Higgs
- “First the Lord used Elizabeth, who was ‘too old,’ then he used Mary, who would be ‘too young’ by today’s standards. At any age, we can serve the Lord.” -Liz Curtis Higgs
- The truth is, God’s strength is fully revealed when our strength is depleted.” -Liz Curtis Higgs
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Your WBC small group leaders may use some or all of these discussion questions this week.
- If you know a modern Elizabeth, a woman who lives her life in biblical terms, what specific things does she do that you find exemplary (representing the best of biblical womanhood)? How might these biblical women (Proverbs 31, Elizabeth and the woman you just mentioned) inspire you to change the way you”ll serve God in the future?
- Read this verse, 2 Peter 1:3: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” What happens when we praise ourselves- if only in our minds- when we do something right? How can you combat the human urge to take credit for your good behavior when it belongs solely to God?
- Zechariah was silenced for nine months of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. How might this be a challenge for them individually and as a couple? If the Lord silenced you even for a day, what lessons might you learn?
- In Ecclesiastes 7:8, it reads, “The end of a matter is better than its beginning and patience is better than pride.”
- In what ways does Elizabeth’s story illustrate that truth? If you are also waiting for a specific blessing from God, how does Elizabeth’s story challenge you? How does it encourage you? How does it give you hope?
- How has remembering the true meaning of Christmas began to open your heart more to God? How have you begun to grow closer to Him during this week?
- Remember a time when you felt disappointment but suffered quietly. How did knowing that you were chosen by God and His daughter help you get through this time?
- How do our doubts and fears keep God from working in our lives?
- How does Elizabeth’s story show us that God’s timing is always best?
- How will you begin to make room for Him in your heart right now?
Stop thinking in human terms and get the big picture.
Liz Curtis Higgs
I am believing with you!