Elizabeth —(Joe Werdan)

Elizabeth —(Joe Werdan)

December 15th– Elizabeth

Scripture

62 Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. 63 He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And all of them were amazed. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 Fear came over all their neighbors, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard them pondered them and said, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him. (Lk. 1:62-66)

Reflection (Joe Werdan):

“The celebration of Advent is possible only to those who are troubled in soul,” Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote. “It is possible, only to those who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, and who look forward to something greater to come.” Bonhoeffer (who happens to be my favorite theologian) spoke these words during a sermon on December 2nd, 1928 at a church in Barcelona. As he spoke to whoever would listen, I can’t help but think he was speaking to himself, too.

In Luke’s gospel, we find Elizabeth, not much different from Bonhoeffer. Elizabeth is a woman in Palestine– an almost contradictory existence. Although she is righteous, she is also barren. When she becomes pregnant, she is hidden away, and called a disgrace. She can speak, but finds she has no voice– apart from her muted husband. For all her obedience and faith, and though she is without blame, Elizabeth is alone. And this is where we find her– secluded in a room, poor and imperfect, and troubled in soul.

When the time came for her to give birth, Elizabeth bore a son. And she named him John. Her neighbors and relatives doubted her, and went to the child’s father, instead. 

Elizabeth waited. 

With a crowd around him and a tablet in his hand, the father wrote “his name is John.” They stood up and praised God, for the father could speak again, and had spoken the name of his son. And Elizabeth sat in the corner, still unable to speak. She had waited, alone and without voice, without comfort or compassion. She had no hope of her own, and yet looked forward to something greater than herself– her son.

Advent is a time for hope. It is a time for longing and expectation of something greater to come. But it starts with those who wait– those who know themselves to be poor and imperfect, troubled in soul, and anxious for what is to come.

Question:

What are you hoping for?

Prayer:

God of great magnificence, give us hope in the darkness, faith for our fear, and lift our heads to look and see the light. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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