Who Is Listening for the Promise?

One of the Christmas cards I received had a drawing of Mary and Elizabeth. According to the book of Luke, Elizabeth was the first to learn of Mary’s pregnancy after the angel had appeared to Mary. She believed God’s plan.

Art by Mike Torevell

And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” Luke 1: 41-42

Matthew recorded the visit of the three wise men from the east. They had learned of the birth of Jesus from their study of the stars. They came to worship and bring gifts.

And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and fell down and worshipped him. Then opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. Matthew 2: 9-11

Luke recorded the experience of shepherds who were tending their sheep.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over the flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For onto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2: 8-14

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. Luke 2: 15-17

Elizabeth, the wise men from the east and the shepherd received the announcement of a Savior, a King. Amidst the political turmoil, corruption of leaders and problems in daily life, they heard the message of hope. God was doing something, Let us be like them, ready to see and hear God at work. In another post I write about Mary and Elizabeth and how their hearts and minds were prepared for the coming Savior.

Our soul waits for the Lord, he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you. Psalm 33: 20-22

Note: the card pictured above is from The Printery House at Conception Abbey 

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Sunrise and Refreshed Faith

The first chapter of Luke provides the only details about Elizabeth and Zechariah, the parents of John the Baptist. They are described as righteous and blameless. Elizabeth is barren.

The angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah in the temple and astonishes him with the announcement that he will have a son. Because he is an old man, Zechariah doubts that this is possible. In response Gabriel tells Zechariah that he won’t be able to speak until the baby is born. Is this punishment? Or discipline?

In the quiet months of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, Zechariah had the opportunity to search the scriptures and gain an understanding of God’s plan. I like to think that God gave Zechariah an intermission to prepare for the birth and parenting of John.

Zechariah’s song demonstrates his new understanding and his faith.

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,

to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,

because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high

to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1: 76-79

Sometimes we may benefit from an intermission. When the world around us is confusing, we need time reading and meditating on God’s word. It is good to pause and be still, knowing that Jesus is our sunrise. 

Sharing this post with the Five Minute Friday writing community and Heart Encouragement.

Beyond the Sunset

Beyond the Sunset is a hymn that I remember from childhood. My Dad had a good voice and sang this with joy. Here are the words to the first verse:

Beyond the sunset, O blissful morning,

When with our Savior heaven is begun,

Earth’s toiling ended, O glorious dawning;

Beyond the sunset, when day is done.

Blanche Kerr Brock, Virgil P. Brock, Albert K. Rowswell

As Christians we have a balance to keep. We hold God’s promises dear and look forward to the return of Jesus. At the same time we have a job to do. We are called to be servants of our Lord.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

During this challenging time with the pandemic and political unrest, we may wonder what our role is. Is a global reset coming? We can pray for our country, for our family and for the church worldwide. After we have prayed we can stay alert, paying attention to the Holy Spirit for our words and action.

Kate’s prompt for the Five Minute Friday writers is: BEYOND Join the fun and visit the link-up here.

Also sharing this post with Crystal’s Heart Encouragement.