And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her home (Luke 1:56)
When we first gather with family at Christmas, it's a wonderful feeling. But after a few days together, we begin to notice those things that got on our nerves as kids and how they still get on our nerves today. We can manage a couple of days all right, but three months would be out of the question.
But three months was perfect for Mary, Elizabeth and Zechariah. They probably would have stayed together longer if they could. The women talked about God's plans for their sons, while Zechariah listened in. These were great days. It is a truly wonderful experience to spend time together with people who share your interests and your fascination with the great things God is doing.
Of course, just as our Christmas gatherings must eventually come to an end, the time finally came for Mary to return home as well.
Our Christmas gatherings can be powerful glimpses of the great joy those who believe in Jesus Christ as Savior will enjoy in heaven. We will get along perfectly, because God will remove the sin that turns us against each other. Until that day, we can enjoy more harmonious gatherings, because Jesus has already begun His work in us, taking away our sins and God's wrath and making us new creatures in His image.
That process will finally be completed when Jesus Christ returns to earth on Judgment Day. Then He will make us perfect. We will live together in joy and peace in God's presence forever, sharing even greater delights than Mary, Elizabeth and Zechariah enjoyed during those three wonderful months together.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for gathering us as Your family in Jesus Christ Your Son. Purify our hearts that we may enjoy our time together this Christmas -- looking to the eternal pleasure of being together in Your presence. In Jesus' Name. Amen.