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Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Second Baby in the Christmas Story

The Christmas story is all about Jesus, as it should be. He is central to God’s plan. He’s the Son of God and the Way of salvation.

I've written posts about the main characters in the Christmas story. If you missed any of them, I’ll provide links for you here. Just click on those that interest you.
          The angels—did they sing?

This is the story about the other baby, John the Baptist. Let’s go back before he was born, in order that we can understand why he was so special.

Zacharias the priest and Elisabeth his wife were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken (old) in years.

Zacharias was burning incense in the temple—doing what priests did—and people were praying outside of where he was. An angel appeared to him on the right side of the altar of incense. When Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

These were strange words, indeed! He and his wife would be parents? Zacharias asked how he could know this was true.

The angel answered, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

The Bible says the people outside were becoming worried, since Zacharias hadn’t come out of the temple. When he finally did come out, he couldn’t speak. They rightly deduced he’d seen a vision, since he was gesturing to them and didn’t speak.

After Zacharias’ turn was done, he went back to his house and his wife Elisabeth conceived. Elisabeth immediately praised the Lord saying that God had taken away her reproach. In those days and in that culture, women’s worth was measured in how many children they had. Childless women were to be pitied.

The story shifts to Nazareth, a small city in Galilee. Gabriel, the same angel who visited Zacharias, makes his visit to Mary. Elisabeth is six months pregnant at this time. Gabriel announces the most important birth of all time, the birth of God’s Son, Jesus. Gabriel says, He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Gabriel tells Mary how she will have a child. The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Then, Gabriel tells Mary about Elisabeth: And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

So Mary travelled to Elisabeth and Zacharias’ house. She entered and greeted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

The Bible says that Elisabeth prophesied about Mary and Baby Jesus. There is probably no way Elisabeth would have otherwise known that Mary was with child, as it had so recently happened, but God let Elisabeth and the baby John know. Before John was born, at six months of gestation, God let John know that His Messiah had come to visit him. It’s an amazing scene.

These were both miracle babies, to be sure, and what a lesson about life in the womb! Tiny baby Jesus, maybe only weeks from His unique conception and six-month-old John had a Divine connection from before their births. Every child brought into the world is special even before he’s born—from his conception.

Mary stayed three months with her cousin, her whole first trimester. When she left, Elisabeth was due to give birth to her baby boy.

(Story and Bible quotations from: Luke 1:5-45, 56. Photos from


  1. Yes indeed, a beautiful story of babies and more importantly the divine plan of God put into action for the birth of our Savior. I remember this story for another important lesson: The Holy Spirit is still giving and creating new life in us today!

    1. Thank you, Snowdrops, for your thoughtful comment. God bless you, and Merry Christmas!


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