from Lynda Lindsey
The angel Gabriel speaking to Mary: “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you. … Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.” Luke 1:28; 30
At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” Luke 1:39-42
“But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” Luke 1:43-45
A gift, by definition, is a present given willingly to someone, without payment. The recipient doesn’t work for the gift, perform a service in exchange for it, or even deserve to receive it; gifts are given because the giver chooses to be generous and kind. Gifts are offered with the hope that the gift will be readily accepted, received and enjoyed; nonetheless it is still proffered. A lagniappe is an extra gift given free of charge as an unexpected bonus; it is a special and welcome treat that serves as a-little-something-extra to encourage us, something to enhance the ordinariness of life.
Mary and Elizabeth found favor with God. God, ever the gracious giver, gifted a virgin’s womb with a baby King that would change the course of history; God gifted a barren womb with a baby that would herald the arrival of the King. God, in His infinite love, gifted the world with His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life! That is Good News indeed, that God’s grace, God’s favor is upon us. Messiah, promised and promise fulfilled, came to us, dwelt among us, died and rose again for us, gifted us with His Holy Spirit, both in the world and within each believer! But, that’s not the end of God’s redemptive favor! There is more to come.
The promise yet future? Jesus will return! Long for His second coming! Watch and wait with the same joy and expectancy as Elizabeth and Mary excitedly counting down nine months of pregnancy! Like a nation watching for the King to return from battle, be watchful, be observant, be alert. Stand guard at the highest level of readiness. The time came for Elizabeth’s son to arrive; the time came for Mary’s son to come. Promises made; promises fulfilled. The time is near for Messiah to come again. It is promised; it will be accomplished. The lagniappe we need to encourage us in the ordinariness of life? The certainty that Jesus’ return is near! What a gift! Receive Him with joy!