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Yesterday the local crew of Notgrass History enjoyed a fun Christmas party. We ate together, laughed together, played silly games together, made a Christmas video to share with you soon, and did a silly project together. We had a grand ole time.

I especially enjoyed the silly project. First, we drew numbers to divide into four teams. Each team made a “gingerbread” house, using only the supplies we were given: crayons, one pair of scissors, packing tape, and scraps from our fulfillment center. The scraps included boxes, pieces of cardboard, packing peanuts, and a thin paperback copy of The Art of War that had been damaged in shipping.

We had 20 minutes, plus (because we begged for a little more time) 30 seconds, to see who could create the best gingerbread house.

Here is Ray with our completed “gingerbread” village.

We plan to have Notgrass History fans vote on the best one. I joked that I was going to ask all of you to vote for my team’s house, but I’m going to be a good girl and let the contest be fair and square. I look forward to sharing voting details with you once I learn how myself!

Working as a team is a powerful teacher and one that homeschooling parents can use effectively, even — or maybe especially — when the team is a group of siblings or a team of parents and one or more children. One of the special blessings of teamwork is the fellowship we enjoy when we work toward one goal.

Today Ray and I are continuing the series of easy devotional ideas that I mentioned yesterday. The devotion for today is a sweet story of fellowship between two unlikely mamas.

Read: Luke 1:39-45

Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”

Discuss: What did Elizabeth know about the baby in Mary’s womb?

Pray as you reflect on this truth: There is fulfillment of what is spoken from the Lord (Luke 1:45).

Add to the basket: a drawing of Mary and Elizabeth together.

Last night I made a drawing of Mary and Elizabeth to place in our basket today.

Though both women are dressed in the clothing style that Jewish women wore in the first century, they have other characteristics that are quite different. Mary’s face is young and smooth. Elizabeth’s chin sags and her face has wrinkles. Mary stands upright. Elizabeth stoops slightly. Mary’s baby bump is small. Elizabeth is in her sixth month, and her belly proves it.

The differences are not what are important to these mamas. They also have much in common. They are both faithful believers in God. They are relatives. They are both first-time mamas. Surprisingly and unexpectedly, both are expecting surprising children of promise.

Their seeing one another is a joy, and their fellowship is sweet. When Mary arrived, Elizabeth gave Mary a warm welcome and so did her baby. He leaped for joy when Mary’s greeting reached his mother’s ears. God blessed Elizabeth by filling her with the Holy Spirit.

I love this story. Don’t you know these women enjoyed sharing their love for God and their dreams for their sons? Surely Mary was a help to the older expectant mother during her three-month-long visit. If either ever felt discouraged, the other was there to lift her up. If either was afraid, the other was there to calm her fears. We know from the last verse in this passage that Elizabeth complimented Mary’s faith in the Lord. What an encouragement this must have been to Mary.

Mary and Elizabeth are wonderful examples to us of how to be friends with other mamas and how to encourage them.

And blessed is she who believed
that there would be a fulfillment
of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.
Luke 1:45

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  

Optional Carol: If you would enjoy singing a carol to go along with today’s devotion, you might enjoy “Joy to the World,” written by English hymnwriter Isaac Watts in 1719. The tune is by Handel.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let ev’ry heart prepare him room
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n and nature sing,
And heav’n, and heav’n and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat , repeat the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make his blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
And glories of his righteousness
And wonders of his love,
And wonders of his love,
And wonders, wonders of his love.

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