This week we are focusing on Christ being formed, growing strong and being ready for birth in Mary’s womb. Elizabeth proclaims, “Blessed is the fruit of your womb!” Let’s pay attention this week to the ways in which God brings about his promise slowly and over time, through the long process of bearing a child and all the fragility that is a part of that.
Here are the readings:
“But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is from of old, from ancient days. Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who is in labor has brought forth; then the rest of his kindred shall return to the people of Israel. And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God. And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth; and he shall be the one of peace. (Micah 5:2-5a)
“In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”” (Luke 1:39-45 NRSV)
“And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”” (Luke 1:46-55)
What contrast do you see in God’s plan to bring about a baby born to a poor virgin girl, and other previous attempts for God be reconciled with the world?
Can you name a time when you had the long hard task of waiting for something you desperately desired? Was it fulfilled? What was it like to go through that?
Reflect on what Elizabeth says in Luke 1:39-45, what stands out to you?
Can you identify with the song Mary sings? In what ways?
Supplemental Quaker reading:
I’ve included a short reading from the early Quaker Isaac Pennington called “Concerning the Light” that is fitting for Christmas reflection. What are your thoughts on what he has to say in relation to Christmas? (Here is the link for the document).