“‘How kind the Lord is!’ she [Elizabeth] exclaimed. ‘He has taken away my disgrace of having no children'” (Luke 1:25, NLT).

Elizabeth and MaryIn times of war, the military usually causes what they call collateral damage, which is when innocent civilians are unintentionally killed and civil property is damaged or destroyed. It’s a tragic yet inevitable side effect of military operations. Sin causes collateral damage too, even though many believe their actions, however harmful, won’t have any effect on others. They reason they can do what they want, as long as they don’t hurt anyone but themselves.

God’s actions have collateral effects too, but they are positive and good. When Elizabeth became pregnant, she was overjoyed and praised God for his kindness. Up until that time (and she wasn’t a young woman), Elizabeth suffered from the stigma of having no children. Childlessness was looked upon as a curse and made others wonder what a woman did wrong or who sinned to cause her infertility. God could have chosen a younger woman with other children, but he chose Elizabeth. He took away her disgrace, gave her the joy of having a son, the privilege of being one of the first to know the Messiah had appeared and the honor of giving birth to John, who would prepare the way for the Savior. Elizabeth experienced collateral blessings as a result of God’s “Christmas operation.” That’s his way—the way of kindness, blessings and love for all.

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