When I was pregnant, it was fascinating and weird to watch my belly move. Of course I felt the kicks. But it wasn’t just a feeling, and it wasn’t just me. You could actually see my belly move. A little baby tush would stick out on one side. The skin stretched, swelled, and surged as the baby flipped and flopped. It kind of looked like the 12 Days of Christmas—a little leaping lord and a tiny lady dancing—inside my belly.
The Bible tells of another little guy leaping in utero. Yesterday we read about Zechariah finding out that his wife, Elizabeth, was going to have a baby named John. Before he became John the Baptist (or Baptizer), he was Baby John, and he leapt in Mom’s belly.
Did he jump because his mom ate spicy food, or drank coffee, or had a long day on her feet? Was it a leap of indigestion? No. It was a leap of joy.
The Bible says, “Mary found out she was having a baby. At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.’” (Luke 1:39-44, NIV)
Baby John leapt for joy inside his mom’s womb. He was so excited that Mary was there, that Jesus was going to be born, that he couldn’t help himself. He jumped, leapt, and bounded around.
Having gotten to tell family and friends of my pregnancies, I know the joyous responses that come with such good news! I remember my husband’s face when I told him he was going to be a dad. I can still picture my sister’s classroom after school where I broke the new. I drove seven hours to Knoxville to give my dad a Tennessee Vols pacifier. It was joy, pure joy.
Baby John experienced that kind of joy about Jesus before either of them was actually born! Can we reclaim that kind of joy about baby Jesus this Christmas? Instead of the baby born to the virgin being old news, can we hear it as brand new good news? Can we remember that God himself came here to be with us, and that he did it as a precious baby boy?
Questions for Reflection:
- What moments in your life have been pure joy?
- When have you delivered or received good news? How did you or others respond?
- Have you thanked God for the joy he has brought to your life and your world?