AM Psalm 50; PM Psalm [59, 60] or 33
Isa. 9:18-10:4; 2 Pet. 2:10b-16; Matt. 3:1-12
Months before the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, Gabriel appeared to a priest named Zechariah, telling him that his wife Elizabeth—previously infertile and now too old to have children—will conceive and bear a child. By Luke 1:44 (quoted above), Zechariah has spent about six months with an angelically sealed mouth, Elizabeth has indeed conceived and is carrying John, and Mary is early in her own beyond-unusual pregnancyas she makes a visit to Elizabeth. When Mary arrives, she walks throughthe front door, says hello, and the Holy Spirit floods the place.
It is tempting to think this doesn’t happen in our lives. We don’t often hear of God ‘opening wombs’ and none of us has ever met a woman carrying a human embryo who is God. Even more important than the apparent impossibility of such things may be that we don’t want them to happen. Athletic fetuses, prophetic pregnant women, and impromptu singing sessions from unwed soon-to-be mothers? No thank you. The god we want doesn’t associate with that kind of circus act.
Yet this is how God works and what God does. Long before we met the Christ in any form, God was growing in us the ability to recognize him. God’s work was already well underway when we met that loving individual or community which was visibly pregnant (‘showing’ and ‘glowing’ are so apt as synonyms) with Christ. And when she or he or they drew near, the Spirit of God was unleashed, and something within us leapt with joy, ultimately leading to our salvation and transformation.
As you reflect on what joy might mean for you at this particular moment in this particular Advent, return to pay attention to that within you which first leapt for joy when Christ drew near to you. Give thanks for that child. It is God’s gift. Nourish that child. Rejoice!
-Reverend Nick Jordan