Sunday, December 23, 2018
Light four candles…begin your prayer time by lighting the first two purple candle, the Hope and Peace candles…and light the rose or pink candle…the Joy Candle and then finally light the fourth candle, a purple candle the Love or Mary Candle.
READ: Luke 1: 39-55
45 Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”
Prophecy and blessing. Only two more days until Christmas, this is the last Sunday in Advent, and our last devotion, as tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Today we begin lighting the last candle on the wreath – the Love candle. The Mary Candle.
We hear the story of Mary visiting Elizabeth, the story of the baby, John, in Elizabeth’s womb, leaping at the sound of Mary’s voice. It is easy to feel warm and comforted by this text of two women, coming together in mutual support of their important pregnancies. It is a great story. Babies. Leaping. Singing. But something is missing. Something important.
What is it?
It is Mary, telling Elizabeth what is going on. Check back. Mary never tells Elizabeth, hey, so I am having God’s son. I am pregnant. You can’t tell yet, but a baby is going in my womb.
No, instead, we hear from Luke that the Holy Spirit has filled Elizabeth with this knowledge and she “proclaims loudly.” She prophecies. She speaks the truth. She shares the Good News. Elizabeth becomes the biblical story teller. This is truly significant, as in those days, women were not given a voice. Not only does the Holy Spirit give Elizabeth a voice, it was an important enough voice that it was written down for all the following generations. Elizabeth the prophet.
Then Mary is giving her voice in her song. Prophecy and blessings. What a beautiful witness to a God who uses the lowly to accomplish the work of saving. God uses us too. God gifts us. God calls us. As we move from Advent to Christmas in the next 24 hours, we acknowledge God’s great blessing and gift to us – the gift of Jesus Christ.
May the beginning of Christmas be for you a time of blessing. A time of pausing to acknowledge the great gift of Jesus Christ. I am truly grateful that you have taken the time each day to read these and share your thoughts.
May be the peace that surpasses all understand be for you a grounding and comfort.
God of Surprises, you chose lowly women to be the packages for your message of salvation. Use us to share this great story and blessing with those in our own lives. Send your Holy Spirit to fill us with peace, hope, joy and love. In the name of the Christ child, we pray these things. Amen
What was different for you about this Advent than those of your past? Share with a friend or in the comments below.
About Mitzie…Mitzie Schafer is a Deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. She has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Master of Art in Religion from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary with a concentration in Christian Education and Christian Spirituality. She has been writing curriculum and teaching faith formation for more than ten years. Mitzie’s faith is grounded in the belief that God is the initiator and we are the respondent. That God’s yes is always bigger than our no. That being created in the image of the Creator, makes us by our very nature, creative. And that God LOVES ALL people.
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