Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Bliss 2010--December 7

An Angel Appears to Mary

26 During Elizabeth's sixth month of pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee,27 to a virgin. She was engaged to marry a man named Joseph from the family of David. Her name was Mary.28 The angel came to her and said, "Greetings! The Lord has blessed you and is with you."

29 But Mary was very startled by what the angel said and wondered what this greeting might mean.

30 The angel said to her, "Don't be afraid, Mary; God has shown you his grace.31 Listen! You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of King David, his ancestor.33 He will rule over the people of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end."

34 Mary said to the angel, "How will this happen since I am a virgin?"

35 The angel said to Mary, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you. For this reason the baby will be holy and will be called the Son of God.36 Now Elizabeth, your relative, is also pregnant with a son though she is very old. Everyone thought she could not have a baby, but she has been pregnant for six months.37 God can do anything!"

38 Mary said, "I am the servant of the Lord. Let this happen to me as you say!" Then the angel went away.
Mary Visits Elizabeth

39 Mary got up and went quickly to a town in the hills of Judea.40 She came to Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth.41 When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the unborn baby inside her jumped, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.42 She cried out in a loud voice, "God has blessed you more than any other woman, and he has blessed the baby to which you will give birth.43 Why has this good thing happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?44 When I heard your voice, the baby inside me jumped with joy.45 You are blessed because you believed that what the Lord said to you would really happen."
Mary Praises God

46 Then Mary said,
"My soul praises the Lord;
47 my heart rejoices in God my Savior,
48 because he has shown his concern for his humble servant girl.
From now on, all people will say that I am blessed,
49 because the Powerful One has done great things for me.
His name is holy.
50 God will show his mercy forever and ever
to those who worship and serve him.
51 He has done mighty deeds by his power.
He has scattered the people who are proud
and think great things about themselves.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
and raised up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with nothing.
54 He has helped his servant, the people of Israel,
remembering to show them mercy
55 as he promised to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his children forever."

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.
The Birth of John

57 When it was time for Elizabeth to give birth, she had a boy.58 Her neighbors and relatives heard how good the Lord was to her, and they rejoiced with her.

59 When the baby was eight days old, they came to circumcise him. They wanted to name him Zechariah because this was his father's name,60 but his mother said, "No! He will be named John."

61 The people said to Elizabeth, "But no one in your family has this name."62 Then they made signs to his father to find out what he would like to name him.

63 Zechariah asked for a writing tablet and wrote, "His name is John," and everyone was surprised.64 Immediately Zechariah could talk again, and he began praising God.6566 The people who heard about them wondered, saying, "What will this child be?" because the Lord was with him. All their neighbors became alarmed, and in all the mountains of Judea people continued talking about all these things.
Zechariah Praises God

67 Then Zechariah, John's father, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
68 "Let us praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to help his people and has given them freedom.
69 He has given us a powerful Savior
from the family of God's servant David.
70 He said that he would do this
through his holy prophets who lived long ago:
71 He promised he would save us from our enemies
and from the power of all those who hate us.
72 He said he would give mercy to our ancestors
and that he would remember his holy promise.
73 God promised Abraham, our father,
74 that he would save us from the power of our enemies
so we could serve him without fear,
75 being holy and good before God as long as we live.

76 "Now you, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High God.
You will go before the Lord to prepare his way.
77 You will make his people know that they will be saved
by having their sins forgiven.
78 With the loving mercy of our God,
a new day from heaven will dawn upon us.
79 It will shine on those who live in darkness,
in the shadow of death.
It will guide us into the path of peace."

80 And so the child grew up and became strong in spirit. John lived in the desert until the time when he came out to preach to Israel.~Luke 1, NCV
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