February 25, 2024 | Doug Sauder
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“A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, ‘God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.’” Luke 1:39–45 (NLT)
Few passages in the Bible fill me with as much emotion as this area of Scripture. Imagine the scene with me for a moment: As soon as the angel Gabriel pronounced to Mary the amazing, miraculous, world-changing news that she’d give birth to the long-awaited Messiah, she started packing up to go visit her cousin Elizabeth, whom the angel told Mary was also pregnant.
A few days later, she arrived and greeted her cousin. But something amazing happened in this moment . . . And as soon as Mary’s voice reached Elizabeth’s ears, the baby in her belly “jumped for joy” in her womb. Think about that for a second: The very sound of Mary’s voice caused Elizabeth’s unborn son, John—who would one day baptize Jesus—to leap and kick inside of Elizabeth. Isn’t that amazing?
Regarding this, theologian Matthew Poole noted, “The motion of the child in the womb of the mother . . . is no unusual thing . . . but doubtless this motion was more than ordinary.” It’s likely that Elizabeth had felt John kicking or moving around in her womb before, but never like this. This was womb worship! It was like when David in 2 Samuel 6:14 (NLT) “danced before the Lord with all his might,” only this time it took place in Elizabeth’s belly! In that moment, through the power of the Holy Spirit, she recognized the leaping occurred because she was in the presence of the Lord, the Son of God, the Messiah and Redeemer. And so, she excitedly exclaimed, “Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me?” I love how the New English Translation of the Bible translates this verse: “And who am I that the mother of my Lord should come and visit me?”
Every time I read this exchange, I’m moved to tears. Can you imagine the feeling Elizabeth must have felt when the Holy Spirit revealed to her that the Savior of the world was in her cousin’s womb? I’m reminded of Simeon, who upon seeing Jesus had the honor of holding the newborn Messiah in his arms and said, “For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all nations” (Luke 2:30–31 NIV).
There’s a joy beyond description when Jesus comes near. There’s a fullness, a peace, and an excitement that causes us to break out into celebration and pure, unabashed praise when we experience the presence of God with us. Chains are broken, scales are removed, healing happens, darkness flees, and the weary find rest. There’s nothing else like it in all the world! And that’s the amazing thing about the story of Christmas: Because of the life and work of Jesus, every single person who puts their faith in Him gets to say, “Christ lives in me!”
I pray we never lose the wonder, awe, and joy of this reality: that we get to live every moment in the presence of the Lord through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. I pray we never take His presence for granted, that we always remember He’s with us, and that we continually, daily receive a fresh filling of His Spirit.
But it goes beyond that, because just like Mary did during her pregnancy, we carry the presence of God within us everywhere we go, which enables us to share the light, love, and peace of Jesus with everyone we come into contact with. We carry the glorious gift of God inside of us, a gift we’ve all been commissioned to share with the world!
So, what are you doing with it? What is it like when you walk into a room? How do people react when they encounter you or hear your voice? Is the tangible presence of the Lord within you evident to them? Is the light of the world shining through your life or have you covered and hidden it?
Friends, as we approach Christmas, a holiday where festive lights fill our cities, I pray we who carry the presence of the Redeemer within us would shine the light of Christ brightest, so “that they may see [our] good deeds and glorify [our] Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV).
Pause: What does it mean that God is with us and in us everywhere we go? How should this impact the way we live and interact with others?
Practice: Today, be aware of what you do, your attitude, your tone, and your words when you enter different rooms and interact with people. Be intentional to live out Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 5:11–21.
Pray: Father, thank You for Your Spirit that is with me and lives in me. Today, I pray for ___________, who doesn’t know You yet, who has not believed the gospel and received the redemption Your Son died to give us. May You use me to reveal Yourself to them and draw them to salvation. Use me, Lord, to show them the power and beauty of the gospel this Christmas season. Amen.
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.