In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy." (Luke 1:39-44)
Imagine what it is like for John. There he is, still three months away from being born—and suddenly, through the Holy Spirit, he realizes that he is in the presence of Jesus his Savior. What can he do? He can't walk; he can't talk; he's not even born yet. All he can do is leap for joy—and that's exactly what he does!
An unborn baby is pretty limited in what he can do to welcome his Savior. We, too, may be limited physically or in other ways. For example, I myself can no longer kneel at the Communion rail. My disability prevents it. A dear friend of mine has no car and cannot easily get to church. Others live among non-Christians who make it difficult for them to worship or gather with other believers. Still others are short on money, which makes it hard for them to welcome Jesus by helping "the least of these My brothers" (Matthew 25:40b).
It's so easy to get depressed about the things we cannot do, but the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. He is the One who let baby John know that Jesus was nearby, in His own mother's womb. He is the One who created faith in you, bringing you to know Jesus, who died and rose for you. We can trust God the Holy Spirit to help us go on responding with love and joy to Jesus our Savior, no matter how limited our circumstances become.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, show me how to love and welcome my Savior. Amen.
* What is one specific way you responded to Jesus' love this week?
* When have you felt helpless and dependent?
* How have you seen the Lord continue to work with you and through you, even at those times?
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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