After journeying with Mary this advent I was thrilled to be preaching on Mary visiting Elizabeth on Wednesday; there's God at work in that.
As usual I mapped out what I would preach
But when it came to the service, as often happens, the preach was led by the Holy Spirit and these became the highlights:
1. John leapt in Elizabeth's womb
What a response, a physical response. John the Baptist recognised Jesus, their connection through the Spirit was already established.
But let's be clear; ow!
As all mothers know, babies can really kick and it's not always comfortable.
And believe me, a baby who decides to turn, that hurts.
Elizabeth would have felt the pain and she'd have been scared; yet the gospels talk as if it was all joy. God's ways are NLT always pain free.
2. John the Baptist and Jesus had a life long connection
John the Baptist and Jesus were connected from the start; connected as friends and support to each other; they were born to be together.
Yet the gospels appear to show that John the Baptist did not know Jesus was the Messiah until he came to be baptised. They were connected but in their consciousness they might not have always known it. God provided the people they needed when they needed them.
3. God provides the people we need
This is not only true for Jesus and John, it's as true today as it ever was.
God provides the people we need, even though we might not be aware or understand.
It might be someone we've always known, or someone new; someone in our family, church or community, or someone in the pub. What matters is that they will be in your life and will be ministering to you. God provides.
4. Reach out to others this Christmas
This christmas you should reach out when you're in need; reach out to someone else in need. Just reach out, you never know when you'll be the person God sends or the person God is sending to.