Welcome to our online Bible study as we read The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary and Anna by Liz Curtis Higgs. We begin with Chapter One and meet Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah.
*Liz also recommends watching The Nativity Story DVD along with the weekly readings: “The value of watching the movie as part of your study is to offer a richer understanding of the world into which Jesus was born: the realities of Roman rule, the harshness of the taxes levied, the role Herod played, and the challenges Mary and Joseph faced. Although Anna’s story is not included, and the scenes watched each week will not always align with the chapters you’ll be reading, I do believe adding a dramatic, visual element could greatly enhance your learning experience.” Week One’s video portion are: Scenes 1-3, ending with “for those who have nothing”
From WomensBibleCafe.com’s Christine Abraham last Christmas:
“Our study begins with a reminder from Liz Curtis Higgs of the greatest gift of all:
- Love, wrapped in swaddling clothes
- Hope, nestled in a manger.
Imagine, these two gifts. Timeless, freely given and unblemished. Gifts that travel both sides of eternity. No expiration date, no expired warranty. Freely given, though not always accepted. Pause for a moment and think about this…if you had a small box of hope or love sitting beside you, what would it look like inside that box?
Inside my small box would be the name Jesus. No religious symbols of a cross, nail or crown of thorns…only His name. The name that means hope and love to people around the world. Have you prepared room in your heart for Him?
We see God’s power and strength working in the lives of Elizabeth and her husband, “blessings piled on their heads” as Liz Curtis Higgs describes it. They received these blessings because they opened their hearts to the gift. So my question for you is…have you opened your heart to receive His gift too? Where is your heart this time of year? Some of you may have “heart arteries” clogged with financial worries, relationship struggles or unbalanced health. When your focus is on your troubles, then your clogged heart is not focused on God. Zechariah and Elizabeth prepared their hearts to receive the gift, through obedience and relationship with the Lord.
When the angel appears…will you be too stunned to receive the blessing?
Liz Curtis Higgs writes “Believing is what Christmas is all about. Believing Jesus is the Son of God. Believing he was born of a virgin. Believing he came to earth to rescue us from our doubts and save us from our sins.”
It’s one thing to believe in Jesus and celebrate Christmas with family and friends. On a deeper level, do you believe that Our Lord is bigger than your troubles and He would bless you with your own miracle?
Expect. Pray. Receive.
Stop thinking in human terms
and get the big picture.
Liz Curtis Higgs
You get human results when you think in human terms. For the next week I want you to think about this: How am I limiting God? Start journaling on your computer or on a pretty piece of paper and ask yourself this question each day. Over and over…embed this thought for seven days. While you’re at it…do me a favor and post a comment below, you can even copy and paste this so I know you read this article:
For the next seven days I agree to ask myself the important question: How am I limiting God?
Assignment For The Week
- Read Chapter One
- Read Luke 1:5-18
- Read Proverbs 31:10-31
- Read 2 Peter 1:3
Discussion Questions For Small Group via Liz Curtis Higgs- From the study guide in the back of your book
- If you know a modern Elizabeth, a woman who lives her life in biblical terms, what specific things does she do that you find exemplary (representing the best of biblical womanhood)? How might these biblical women (Proverbs 31, Elizabeth and the woman you just mentioned) inspire you to change the way you”ll serve God in the future?
- Read 2 Peter 1:3. What happens when we praise ourselves if only in our minds- when we do something right? How can you combat the human urge to take credit for your good behavior when it belongs solely to God?
- When Zechariah was bewildered and alarmed by the appearance of a heavenly messenger, the angel told him, “Do not be afraid.” When and where in your life might you need a reminder that God does everything out of love so you can truly put aside your fears? What comfort might you find in Isaiah 12:2 “Surely God is my salvation; I will trust and not be afraid. The LORD, the LORD himself is my strength and my defense; He has become my salvation”? And how might John 14:27 encourage you: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid:”?
- Was there something in Chapter One that struck a chord with you?
- How does Elizabeth’s faithfulness inspire you?
Share your thoughts and comments with us below. Join us next week for Chapter Two: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence.