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  • The Women of Christmas
  • Written by Liz Curtis Higgs
  • Format: Hardcover | ISBN: 9781601425416
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  • The Women of Christmas
  • Written by Liz Curtis Higgs
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9781601425423
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Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna

Written by Liz Curtis HiggsAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Liz Curtis Higgs

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List Price: $11.99

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On Sale: September 17, 2013
Pages: 224 | ISBN: 978-1-60142-542-3
Published by : WaterBrook Press WaterBrook Multnomah/Image
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

God Reached Down from Heaven with the Best Gift of All
 
A sacred season is about to unfold for three women whose hearts belong to God.
Elizabeth is barren, yet her trust in God remains fertile. Mary is betrothed in marriage, yet she is willing to bear God’s Son. Anna is a widow full of years, yet she waits patiently, prayerfully for the Messiah to appear in the temple courts.

Following in their footsteps, you too can prepare for the Savior to enter your heart, your mind, and your life in a vibrant, new way. Best-selling author Liz Curtis Higgs explores the biblical stories of Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna, unwrapping each verse with tender care and introducing you afresh to The Women of Christmas.

Excerpt

One

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.
—Isaac Watts, “Joy to the World,” 1719


Let Every Heart
Prepare Him Room

Long before silver bells jingled, Christmas lights twinkled, and horse-drawn sleighs went dashing through the snow, God reached down from heaven with the best gift of all.

Love, wrapped in swaddling clothes. Hope, nestled in a manger.

Three women played vital roles in the Messiah’s birth: Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna. Even if you’ve met them before, I think you’ll enjoy getting to know them better. And I’ll love sharing the journey with you!

Their lives were markedly different. Elizabeth was married, settled, mature. Her kinswoman Mary was young, still living at home, and engaged to a carpenter. Anna was an elderly widow whose every waking hour was wholly dedicated to God. Before we reach the final page, we’ll understand why God chose them. And why—this part boggles my mind—God has chosen us too.

We’ll also spend time with the men in their lives, including an old priest called Zechariah, a new husband named Joseph, and a brother of the faith known as Simeon.

Still, it’s the women who carry the story, teaching us by example to wait upon the Lord, to trust him with everything that matters to us, to pray until our prayers are answered. We’ll also hear from more than two dozen women who shared their comments through my online Bible study. Their honesty and humility bring these ancient stories right into the present, showing us what it means to surrender our lives to the One who loves us most.

And he truly does love you. Always has, always will. If only one message from this book finds a home in your heart, let it be that God’s love for you is wider, longer, higher, and deeper than you can ever imagine!

Christmas is so much more than a holiday. So much more than buying and wrapping and cooking and eating and trimming with tinsel and mailing out cards. It’s a season for reflection, for preparation, for renewal. The perfect time to put aside our shopping lists and reach for our Bibles, where the story of the Christ child awaits us.

Curl up in a comfy spot, and let’s dive in.

This year I want to look up and be refreshed anew by the true meaning of it all.” —Miriam

And so we begin with Elizabeth, our first woman of Christmas.

Anticipation builds as we turn to the book of Luke. We know what’s coming. Or do we? The forgotten details, the overlooked truths may catch us by surprise and teach us something new about God and his love for us. The birth of his Son is a story that never grows old, never loses its power to alter our thinking and realign our priorities.

Mary is, of course, the most famous of our trio, yet her older kinswoman Elizabeth moved into the limelight first, along with the man she married.

  In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah,… Luke 1:5

Just an ordinary priest. The streets of Jerusalem were full of them. Depending on the translation, his name is spelled “Zacharias,” “Zachariah,” even “Zachary.” Same guy. Zechariah was not only a good man; he was also God’s man, descended from a long line of holy servants.

     …who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah;… Luke 1:5

Abijah was just one of twenty-four divisions, so there were lots of priests. Since the time of Aaron, their duties included handling various offerings, giving thanks, and singing praises at the gates of God’s dwelling place. A worthy calling, though with so many priests, few were singled out for ministry within the temple’s Holy Place.

Now that we have Zechariah sorted out, here’s the woman we’ve been eager to meet.
    
     …his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Luke 1:5

A popular name, much loved through the centuries. My mother was an Elizabeth, I’m one too, and so is my daughter-in- law, though each generation picked a different nickname: Betty, Liz, and Beth. The meaning remains the same: “God’s promise” or “oath of God.”

Like her husband, Elizabeth was in Aaron’s lineage, which made her a fine catch since marrying a woman of priestly ancestry was a special blessing. Among her many tasks Elizabeth kept her husband’s priestly garments in good repair and welcomed visitors into their home to discuss temple matters.

We know this couple. We’ve seen them at church, exchanged smiles in the parking lot. Happily married people, busily serving the Lord, always doing good.

     Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. Luke 1:6

They lived “honorably before God” (msg ) and humbly as well, knowing the Lord alone was their source of righteousness. It may sound as if Elizabeth and her husband were obedient and so earned God’s approval, but, in truth, it was the other way around. God’s power and strength at work in their lives made it possible for them to do the right thing in the first place.

The same is true for us, of course. Though it’s tempting to praise people for their goodness, it’s better to praise the One who made them. “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

After such cheery news about Elizabeth and her hubby in the opening verses, it’s time for the other shoe to drop. When God’s blessings are piled on our heads, it’s easy to be faithful. The real test comes when disappointment calls and sorrow pulls up a chair.

     But they were childless… Luke 1:7

Oh no. Not these two godly souls?

Afraid so. Even with all their goodness and righteousness, sadness had crept into their home. In their world children were seen as God’s reward for faithful service. We can guess the desperate questions that threaded through their minds as each year went by without a child in their arms. Are we not faithful enough, Lord? Have we dishonored you in some way?

Whenever they heard the psalmist’s words “The fruit of the womb is a divine reward,” Zechariah and Elizabeth must have steeled themselves, hiding their pain, even as they avoided sidelong glances from their neighbors.

     …because Elizabeth was not able to conceive,… Luke 1:7
Liz Curtis Higgs

About Liz Curtis Higgs

Liz Curtis Higgs - The Women of Christmas

In her best-selling series of Bad Girls of the Bible books, workbooks, and videos, Liz breathes new life into ancient tales about the most infamous—and intriguing—women in scriptural history, from Jezebel to Mary Magdalene. Biblically sound and cutting-edge fresh, these popular titles have helped more than one million women around the world experience God’s grace anew.
 
Her best-selling historical novels, which transport the stories of Rebekah, Leah, Rachel, Dinah, Ruth, and Naomi to eighteenth-century Scotland, also have invited readers to view these familiar characters in a new light. Now, with The Girl’s Still Got It, Liz offers a twenty-first century take on the book of Ruth, dishing out meat and milk, substance and style, in a highly readable, always entertaining, and deeply personal journey with one of the Good Girls of the Bible.
 
Liz is the author of nearly 30 books, with more than 3 million copies in print. Her popular nonfiction books include Bad Girls of the Bible, Really Bad Girls of the Bible, Unveiling Mary Magdalene, Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible, Rise and Shine, and Embrace Grace.

She’s also a best-selling novelist, creating both contemporary and historical fiction, including her latest award-winning novels, Here Burns My Candle and Mine Is the Night. And she’s written five books for young children, including Go Away, Dark Night.
 
Her children’s Parable Series received a 1998 ECPA Gold Medallion for Excellence, her nonfiction book Embrace Grace won a 2007 Retailers Choice Award, and her novel Whence Came a Prince received a 2006 Christy Award for Best Historical Novel. Here Burns My Candle was named 2010 Best Inspirational Romance by Romantic Times Book Reviews, and her 2011 novel, Mine Is the Night, was a New York Times bestseller.
 
Liz was also an award-winning columnist for Today’s Christian Woman for ten years. Additional articles by Liz have appeared in Faith&Friends in Canada, WomanAlive in Great Britain, and Enhance in Australia. And more than 4,500 churches nationwide are using her video Bible study series, Loved by God.

A gifted professional speaker, known by her audiences as An Encourager®, Liz has presented more than 1,600 inspirational programs in all fifty United States and fourteen foreign countries, including Israel, Thailand, Portugal, and Indonesia. When the National Speakers Association honored her with their Council of Peers Award for Excellence, Liz became one of only thirty-five women in the world named to their CPAE-Speaker Hall of Fame. Her alma mater, Bellarmine University, presented her with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2005, and she received an Honorary Doctorate from Georgetown College in 2010.

Feature articles about Liz have appeared in more than 250 major newspapers and magazines, as well as on Salon.com, Beliefnet.com, Spirituality.com, HopeforWomenMag.com, Kyria.com, and many other websites. She has been interviewed on more than 600 radio and television stations, including guest appearances on PBS, A&E, MS•NBC, NPR, TBN, CBC Canada, BBC Radio Scotland, Shine TV New Zealand, Radio Pulpit South Africa, Focus on the Family, Life Today, 100 Huntley Street, and Midday Connection on the Moody Network.

On the personal side, Liz is married to Bill Higgs, Ph.D., who serves as Director of Operations for her speaking and writing office. Liz and Bill enjoy their old Kentucky home, a nineteenth-century farmhouse in Louisville, and are the proud (and relieved!) parents of two college grads, Matthew and Lillian. Visit Liz’s Web site: www.LizCurtisHiggs.com.

Praise

Praise

Praise for The Women of Christmas

“Breathtaking! The Women of Christmas is tender and joy filled and funny and faithful. With genuine warmth, profound wisdom, and refreshing wonder, Liz Curtis Higgs offers up a perfect seasonal blend—just what every woman in the midst of Christmas needs. I savored every word.”
—Ann Voskamp, author of the New York Times bestseller One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

“Liz Curtis Higgs ably mines the Scriptures, revealing undiscovered treasures in the familiar story. Through the pages of this powerful little book, we get to peer into the hearts of these women and find our own hearts melting at the beauty of God’s grace.”
—Nancy Guthrie, author of the Bible study series Seeing Jesus in the Old Testament

“This season delight your friends with an early gift of The Women of Christmas, inviting them to see how Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna were part of God’s great plan to rescue us. As Liz puts it, ‘Never doubt for a moment that women matter to the Almighty.’”
—Dee Brestin, author of Idol Lies: Facing the Truth About Our Deepest Desires

The Women of Christmas invites us to steal away with our Savior during the hustle and bustle of one of the busiest seasons of the year. In her warm and welcoming voice, Liz Curtis Higgs draws us into the compelling stories of the women who surrounded our Messiah’s birth and encourages us to consider our own relationship with him. An inspirational and biblically rich devotional. What a wonderful way to experience Christmas!”
—Kelly Minter, author of Nehemiah: A Heart That Can Break

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