The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna

The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna

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by Liz Curtis Higgs

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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


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.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
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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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

Meet the Author

Liz Curtis Higgs is a popular conference speaker, who has presented inspirational programs for audiences in all fifty United States and fourteen foreign countries. She is also the author of more than thirty books, with 4.5 million copies in print, including her nonfiction study of Ruth, The Girl’s Still Got It, her best-selling series, Bad Girls of the Bible, Really Bad Girls of the Bible, Unveiling Mary Magdalene, and Slightly Bad Girls of the Bible, her award-winning Scottish historical novella, A Wreath of Snow; and a series of children’s books, including The Pine Tree Parable.
Liz is happily married to Bill Higgs, who serves as director of operations for her speaking and writing office. They share their life together in a nineteenth-century farmhouse near Louisville, Kentucky.

From the Hardcover edition.

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The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
RMStP More than 1 year ago
Liz tells it as well as if she had lived it personally. This is how it happens!
sarahsmithstorm2 More than 1 year ago
“Less than 3 months away till Christmas. I think it's only fair I start posting some Christmas books to get you thinking about this wonderful season! "Christmas is so much more than a holiday. So much more than wrapping, buying, cooking and eating and trimming with tinsel and mailing out cards. It’s a season for reflection, for preparation and renewal.” Does this sound little bit like you? The person who is rushing through the Christmas Holiday just to get it over or the person who can’t wait till Christmas is over with? Maybe you’re not truly enjoying the holiday season and all it has to offer? That quote just stuck with me and made me realize, I need to re-think Christmas a little differently. The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna Mary, Elizabeth and Anna, 3 women chose by God to play a important role in the lives of Jesus' birth and God had a specific person why he used them. As you read each of the accounts of their lives and their stories, you will see what their role is, how they can waited on God and why we should trust him in the big, small and otherwise. The book focuses on these 3 women and tells the stories of their lives. I never really knew the story of Elizabeth, so this was really good for me to read. I knew bits and pieces of Mary's life and a bit about Anna, but this put everything into great perspective for me. The Author Liz Curtis Higgs has a great sense of humor when writing this book. I loved this book and her view on the lives of these women. Would I recommend this book? Heck, yes! This book would be a great small group discussion book with a group of ladies for the month of November to prepare or even December to keep your head and heart in the right direction during the Christmas season. I received this book free from Waterbrook, I was not compensated nor required to write a positive review. I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and am in no way obligated to leave a positive review.
Lisa_Lewis_Koster More than 1 year ago
I've done much better at keeping Jesus in focus this holiday season, and "The Women of Christmas" by Liz Curtis Higgs has had a lot to do with that. If you've ever been blessed to hear Liz speak, youl know she has a verse-by-verse teaching style.  This is exactly how the book is set up, going through the birth narratives in Luke 1-2 and Matthew 1-2 verse by verse. I find this method helps to slow me down and really ponder what Scripture is teaching. The book starts by focusing first on Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist, then Mary, mother of Jesus, and finally the prophetess Anna.   The details Liz provides give new insight to what for many is a familiar story.  For instance, Elizabeth's husband was unable to hear or speak throughout the duration of her pregnancy, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months (Luke 1:24). Imagine how happy she was to receive Mary into her home and have someone to talk to! And think of what a blessing for Mary to hear Elizabeth declare she was carrying the Messiah (Luke 1:43) when she may not have been sure herself if she was pregnant yet. I can imagine Mary traveling to Elizabeth and going over and over in her mind what she could possibly say to Elizabeth to explain what God was doing in her life. What a gift for Mary to hear Elizabeth's declaration! And who could understand Mary better than Elizabeth, and vice versa? "The Women of Christmas" consists of 8 easy to read chapters (the first chapter took me 12 minutes to read) and has a study guide with discussion questions at the back of the book, making this great for groups as well as individuals.   This book is well worth the read regardless of the season.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have read just about all of Liz Curtis Higgs' books and have yet to find one I did not like. The Women of Christmas is wonderful. It gives you an eye opening glimpse into the lives of three of the women in Jesus' life. Mary's faith, obedience and courage come shinning through. Elizabeth exudes the joy of having her unborn Savior staying under her roof. Anna who has spent the better part of her life in the synagogue serving her Lord recognizes her Savior in young Mary's arms. Although the title is "The Women of Christmas", it is appropriate to read at any time of the year. It points to the honorable position God placed these women in and encourages us to know that women hold a special place in God's heart and ministry. A must read!
dgottreu More than 1 year ago
The Women of Christmas by Liz Curtis Higgs is a wonderful book for the Christmas season or for any time of the year. The book covers the lives of Mary, Elizabeth, and Anna in the months before the birth of Jesus and a few weeks after His birth. Each woman is presented through Bible scriptures and the narrative of the author. Mary is newly betrothed but she is pregnant, Elizabeth is old and barren but she also becomes pregnant, and Anna is old, widowed, and lives in the Temple waiting for the arrival of the Messiah. Of course the story also includes Joseph a carpenter who is betrothed to Mary, Zechariah a priest who is the husband of Elizabeth, and Simeon also a priest and living each day waiting to see the promised Messiah. The one thing that all three women have in common is that their hearts belong to God. And Mary and Elizabeth are blessed to have husbands that love and obey God. Liz Higgs does an excellent job in presenting the story of these three women and showing the involvement in and contribution of each of them in the Christmas story. The style of the writing made for easy reading and enjoyment. Liz wrote a paragraph or two to introduce each woman and then a verse of scripture was given and Liz would then give her interpretation of that verse, another verse was given, Liz would interpret, and this style of writing was continued throughout the entire book.. This form was also used for the three men in the story. This style of writing made the Christmas story so easy to understand and brought new thoughts to mind even though I have been hearing and reading the Christmas story for decades. A study guide is presented at the end for individual or small group study. This is a small book but it packs a big punch. I definitely recommend this book to all who would like to know more about Mary, Elizabeth, and Anna and their participation in the Christmas story. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers through their Blogging for Books program in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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MadamePixie More than 1 year ago
Liz Curtis Higgs has a way of bringing the women of the Bible to life, which no other author can do. As with her previous books, Higgs has taken women who lived so many hundreds of years ago and made them relatable to today’s woman. The prose she adds to the beautiful wording of the Bible carry your heart into another place and time, and your heart is forever changed by the beautiful retellings of hope and love displayed by the three woman this book focuses on. We are greeted by a patient Elizabeth, an obedient Mary and a devout Anna. The presentation of characters by Higgs will capture your heart and forever change the way you see these ladies.
daHobbit More than 1 year ago
Why is Nook edition $2 more than kindle edition?
BethRBR More than 1 year ago
"As David once wrote, 'The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng.' Amen to that! Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna are among that mighty throng who've heard God's truth and gladly given him the glory." -excerpt, Chapter 8, Women of Christmas I love Christmas. Each year it seems like I want to start celebrating earlier and earlier. Reading Christmas literature is something I like to do to deepen the meaning of the season for me. This year I started with The Women of Christmas by author Liz Curtis Higgs. The Women of Christmas is a a detailed commentary of the story of Christmas as pertaining to three women, Mary, the mother of Jesus, Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, and Ann, the prophetess who worshiped God day and night in the temple. The book contains 8 chapters with a devotional/study guide at the back of the book for each chapter. One of the first things I noticed about this book was the incredible amount of research the author has done. It was amazing! There are a lot of footnotes in this book, which I like. I like to read a book and take away information about the Bible that I didn't know before. In The Women of Christmas, Liz discusses things like the age of Elizabeth when she became pregnant with John the Baptist, the theory behind the possibility that Zechariah was also deaf along with being mute, and the very important encounter of Mary with the angel Gabriel. I really enjoyed this book. I loved the research that was put into this. That was the biggest thing for me. I like it when an author does their homework. I was a little disappointed with the book cover. The dust jacket which serves as the cover is beautiful, but the book itself is plain and did not include the beauty you see on the dust jacket. Also, I was a little confused about why the author chose to include information about Simeon in the book, other than to segue into her information about Anna. I recommend this book to anyone who would like to delve deeper into the Christmas story. This book is a great one for study. It would also be a great book for a Women's Bible study around Christmastime. Many blessings to you as we make our way toward the celebration of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ., Beth¿ Disclosure: I received this book free as part of a free books for bloggers program at Waterbrook Multnomah. I was not required to give a positive review. The thoughts and opinions here are entirely my own. ¿ ¿
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
E WOMAN OF CHRISTMAS: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary and Anna by LIZ CURTIS HIGGS is an inspirational Christan Living/Women. Oh my goodness, what a delightful book to have at the Christmas or anytime, but especially at the Christmas season. I read it at once after receiving it from the publisher. I intend to go back often and re-read time and again. It is filled with stories of the women,Elizabeth,Mary and Anna, who surrounded our Savior's birth. It is funny, filled with joy,warmth,wisdom,wonder,scriptures, and of course undiscovered discoveries. It has a study guide and other interesting notes. Ms. Curtis Higgs is a wonderful storyteller, who draws the reader into her stories of the hustle and bustle of the season, the women who surrounded our Savior, and encourages each reader to reflect on his or her own relationship with our Lord and Savior. A much treasured book!! I loved it from the cover to the last page. If you know anyone in your life who needs a gift, than, "The Woman of Christmas" is a perfect gift. Highly recommended!! Received for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 5 HEAT RATING: NONE REVIEWED BY: AprilR, Courtesy of My Book Addiction and More