Two women: one old, one young. One barren, one
unmarried. Neither expecting to have a baby.
At least not now…
Maybe a few decades ago…Or after the vows had been
exchanged… But not now!
And yet, they both were.
Both could have been divorced. One, before she became
pregnant—because by Jewish Talmud law, if you could not
provide an heir for your husband, he could divorce you.
The other, after.—Again, she was pregnant out of wedlock.
In fact, most would have wanted her stoned.
But both of their men were honorable: the one, praying for
his wife; the other, marrying the woman who was carrying
And these two women, or rather, the babies they were
carrying, would change the world! The one, preparing the
way. The other? Well, He was the way!
And the truth. And the life.
We aren’t told how others treated these two women
throughout their pregnancies—an elderly woman, much too
old to be bearing a child. A young woman whose pregnancy
and wedding dates didn’t add up.—Just that they themselves
trusted God and celebrated the miracles.
Elisabeth, the elder: “Thus the Lord has done for me in the
days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach
among people” (Luke 1:25).
Her cousin Mary, the younger,…did they believe she was
still a virgin? That the conception was a miracle? Either
way, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to
me according to your word” (Luke 1:38) and “My soul
magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my
Savior, for He has looked on the humble estate of His
We DO know that after the babies were born, others rejoiced:
neighbors and relatives for the one, shepherds and wisemen
for the other.
But not everyone.
Within two years of the second birth, jealousy rotted a man’s
heart, and just as prophesied, “a voice was heard in Ramah,
weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her
children…” (Mt 2:18). A town wailed for its lost babies.
Joy into Mourning… Have you know that kind of pain? So
excited, then hopelessly helpless.
For me, it was the day I lost a baby…a passing…from a life
I know I’m not alone. There are other Rachels out there,
weeping for children that “are no more.” And during
holidays? Well, I’ve experienced the sweetness of being
pregnant on the day we celebrate Christ’s birth. As high as
that is, the loss is the opposite. And you weep with those
Bethlehem mothers, wondering how the world could be so
evil. And if there is any relief from the pain.
And then I remember. As He has shown me many times,
while the Lord allows the walk through the valley of the
shadow of death, He is always with me. The day I lost my
baby was no different…
I lay on the couch, knowing something wasn’t right, praying
my greatest fears were wrong. My 4-yr-old daughter climbed
next to me with a Bible. “Read to me, Mommy.” I almost
waved her away, the pain severe, but something stopped
me; I reached for the page she held: John 14.
The second I finished the chapter, my pregnancy ended.
But through the hours, minutes, and days that followed,
the words ran continually through my mind. “Let not your
heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid…Believe in Me!”
Whispered words of comfort and truth…
And then similar words came to mind: “Do not be afraid;
for behold, I bring you good news of great joy…” (Luke
2:10). The young woman’s miracle, consoling the lowest of
the low on the hillsides of Bethlehem. After the shepherds
saw this new infant King, they ran back, “glorifying and
praising God for all they’d seen and heard” (v.20). Did the
words run through their minds a few months later when
they saw their own sons killed?
The young mother treasured the words in her heart. Did
she recall them 33 years later when that same son hung on
The older one’s birth? Luke 1:66: “all who heard [these
matters] kept them in mind, saying, ‘What then will this
child be?’ For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.”
If Elisabeth were still alive when he grew up, would the
words have comforted her as she watched her only son
thrown in prison and beheaded as the prophet of the Most
Elisabeth weeping for her son. Mary weeping for hers.
Then mourning became Joy because Joy came in the
morning! Resurrection! The women came to the tomb early,
preparing to let Jesus go forever. Closure. Instead, the tomb
was wide open. And their tears of horror [“They have taken
away my Lord.” (John 20:13)] became tears of Joy [“He has
risen!” (Luke 24:6) “Rabboni! Teacher!”]
They say more people die around Christmas than any other
time of year. That it’s the worst time for depression, for
loneliness. Is it because we have forgotten what the whole
story of Christmas is about? We’ve made it about lights and
gifts. About friends and family. From the very beginning,
Christmas has been a time of miracles. A time of Joy. But it
also comes with a recognition of pain. The pain that this
life—marred by sin—brings. The very reason we needed
the “good news and great joy” in the first place.
It’s not just a miracle in two women’s bodies, but a miracle
in all of us. That we could be changed from within because
He came to dwell with us. Bringing a peace that came from
His fighting a war. A war against mourning and sin and
Because in the miracle of Christmas—when an old woman
and a virgin bore babies—the BIGGEST miracle was God
coming to bring us Good news of Great Joy that is for all
So lost babies? Lost loved ones? Just lost in the unexpected
of life? “Let not your heart be troubled; I give you My
peace. Believe in Me…” The words DO comfort because
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The Son—
born in a stable to die for us—rose in our mourning, shining
Light in our darkness. Immanuel. God with us. Rejoice in
the miracle. For He is Come!
is a freelance writer
and columnist in
where she lives with
her husband David
and five children.
A mother has a natural bond with a child but a father has to build one.