Welcome back to our third week of womens online Bible study- “The Women of Christmas” by Liz Curtis Higgs. This week we celebrated our gift from God. It’s a boy! He’s here! Mary’s baby boy has arrived!
This week’s lesson reminds me of the times I shared in the joy and pain of pregnancy and labor of my family and friends. Do you remember when you were expecting and waiting to meet your new bundle of joy? And then, when he or she arrived, you were so happy and wanted to shout, “It’s a boy!” or “It’s a girl!” Everyone wanted to come and see the baby! I remember the stories my momma would tell of all the hours of labor she went thru with each child. How each pregnancy was different. But it was so worth it, to be able to hear her bundle of joy cry and to hold them.
The words “faith and obedience” came to my mind over and over this week. The faith and obedience that both Mary and Elizabeth showed throughout their own personal journey. Elizabeth had to remain faithful thru the years that she was barren and the challenges she faced from neighbors, family and friends. Even when she became with child, she still had to remain faithful to God thru the entire 9 months as her husband was unable to communicate with her in the normal way. Mary was a child, a virgin, who was to be married but was with child. Her faithfulness to God had to be strong. She would have been talked about, stared at, and maybe even worried about how this would all play out. Two different women, two different paths, two different blessings, but they were both faithful and obedient to God’s will for their lives. Both women were common women, just like you and me, full of promise but not perfect. But their faith was remarkable and notable. The promising truth here is that we are not perfect, nor do we have to be! Whew! Takes the pressure off, doesn’t it? I asked myself am I willing, faithful and obedient to God? Are you?
Zechariah’s response to his restoration to full health was one of praise to God! Can you imagine. Being unable to speak and hear for 9 months, then after you are obedient to God, you are immediately healed! And scripture tells us that he began to praise God! This really took me back to times when I was whiny about my circumstance. “Why me?” “This isn’t fair” “I must be unworthy” “If I had prayed more.” Just one complaint and whine after another. I realized that praising God keeps my whiny and complaining words at bay. When faced with disappointment, praise God. When I am faced with heartache, praise God. When I am faced with sickness and pain, praise God. No matter what I am facing, praising God helps me get thru it increasing and activating my faith and obedience to Him!
My most moving take away from this lesson was the obedience of each woman in the giving the name of their child. “John and Jesus” Each one was told what to name their son, and they obeyed. Remember when you were thinking of a name for your baby? The thought that was put into the name was sometimes long, sometimes after a relative or parent, sometimes with a special meaning. Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary and Joseph obeyed God’s command to name their children. There’s that obedience again!
“The Savior, yes the Messiah the Lord has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!” Luke 2:11 (NLT)
Yes, he was. Your Savior and mine. All because one woman said yes to God. – Liz Curtis Higgs
ASSIGNMENT FOR THE WEEK:
- Read Chapter Seven and Chapter Eight 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/
- Spend some time this week thanking God for the gift of His son.
- Over the next week, give God praise for something each day and record it in your journal.
SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Your WBC small group leaders may use some or all of these discussion questions this week.QUESTION 1: When Zechariah’s health was restored and he could speak again, the first thing he did was praise God.
- QUESTION 1: Do you think praising God is more for our benefit or His? How does the act of praising God change your attitude or perspective?
- QUESTION 2: What part of the story of the birth of Jesus impacts you the most? Why?
- QUESTION 3: Read this scripture, “…He said to them, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children.” Mark 10:14 What are some admirable qualities that children have? In what ways could you become more childlike in your faith?
- QUESTION 4: Music proclaiming the joy of our Savior’s birth has been around for thousands of years. How does music remind us to celebrate the miracle of the birth of Jesus? How does some Christmas music distract us from the true meaning?
- QUESTION 5: How will you put Christ at the center of your Christmas this year?
- QUESTION 6: Read Job 5:17, “Blessed is the one whom God corrects,” and Proverbs 3:12, “The Lord disciplines those he loves.” If Zechariah’s silence wasn’t punishment, it still might have been God’s discipline. How would you describe the difference between punishment and correction? Think of a time when God was disciplining or correcting you. What did you learn from the experience?
- QUESTION 7: We see Elizabeth and Zechariah’s obedience in naming their son “John” despite the objections of their relatives. Remember, both came from priestly families so names were critical in the cultural time period. How does being obedient to God affect our relationships with others? (family, spouse, children, friends) How does it affect our relationship with God?
- QUESTION 8: Share one thing that has moved you the most in the study so far.
So, I ask you, my Sisters, will you present yourself willing to go where God calls you? Will you be obedient to Him? Will you praise Him at all times, thru all, the good and the bad? Will you open your heart and say yes to Him?