The Three Generations of Christmas

I had a thought just yesterday – something I’d never noticed before. I was reading about Liz Curtis Higgs’ book “The Women of Christmas” and it hit me. She’s written the book about Elizabeth (John the Baptist’s mother), Mary (Jesus’ mother), and Anna (the prophetess who saw Jesus after He was born).

Last year, I wrote about Anna, and said I wasn’t sure whether she was eighty-four or a hundred and five years old (it depends on the translation you look at).

So, we have Anna (who’s over eighty), Mary (a young girl from Nazareth, possibly twelve to fourteen years old), and Elizabeth (past childbearing age but sprightly enough to bring up John the Baptist, so maybe in her fifties or sixties). Three generations: Young Mary, Elizabeth in the middle, and the elderly widow Anna. Isn’t that how the body of Christ should be – people of all ages, all races, all backgrounds, each playing their part in the kingdom? Mary wasn’t too young and Anna wasn’t too old. After all, God is timeless/eternal, and one day we’ll be like Him. When we ask God for His kingdom to come on earth as it is in heaven, let’s not be surprised when it brings generations together to give Him glory.

I’m thankful that Mary, Elizabeth and Anna were each willing to play their part.

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Women: A Different Standard

“My son, I gave birth to you.  You are the son I prayed for” (Proverbs 31:2).  King Lemuel’s mother wanted a son, she prayed for one and God answered.  What’s your desire?  Have you ever thought it would be a selfish prayer?  Maybe God doesn’t see it that way.  Will you believe Him for your answer?

 

“In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. …  She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. …  She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness” (Proverbs 31:19, 22, 27).  I must confess I find these some of the most daunting verses in the whole Bible and, reading this blog-post yesterday, I can see I’m not the only one.  I can totally identify with Ginger’s unfavourable comparisons, E.G. this Proverbs 31 woman doesn’t eat the bread of idleness; I’m sometimes still in my dressing-gown at 10 am.  This woman holds a distaff (a tool used in spinning to keep fibres unknotted), and a spindle (used before a spinning wheel).  She makes coverings for her bed; I can’t even sew a button on, but comparison isn’t wise or helpful, so what about these verses?

 

Let’s take them one by one:  First, the distaff and the spindle.  When I think of sewing, I think of dressmakers and the like.  If every good wife made bedcovers and clothes for their families, how would they stay in business?  Could it be that we all have different gifts, and not all of us have the gift of sewing?

 

The Proverbs 31 woman is ‘Clothed in fine linen and purple’ or, as the NCV puts it, “linen and other expensive material”, but are expensive clothes really that important to God?  If they were, why would Paul and Peter encourage women to be more concerned with what’s in their hearts than the clothes they wear?

 

It seems to me that as Christian women, we have a different (and more attainable) standard than women did in the past.  We’re still responsible for watching over the affairs of our household (teaching our children; keeping those we love in prayer), and we can all choose not to give in to laziness, but to make the best use of our time … so if I’m not going out till later in the day and I want to read my Bible in my dressing-gown some mornings, maybe God doesn’t mind all that much.

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Thank you for your likes and comments this month, and especially if you’ve taken up the challenge of reading Proverbs in 31 days.  I know I’ve found it very helpful – not only reading the chapters, but mulling them over and finding something to write about them.  I hope these posts have inspired you to spend time reading God’s Word and to know Him better.