Thursday, December 22, 2011
Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. And her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her. And on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child. And they would have called him Zechariah after his father, but his mother answered, “No; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him. Luke 1:57-66
The first time I saw the Aurora Borealis I was standing on the ground outside of the Fairbanks Airport waiting for a ride. The sky was perfectly clear, the night crackling with cold and then I saw on the horizon light that seemed to dance and move. I was transfixed and didn't want to do anything but stand there and the the sky. Music ran through my head, as if the light was communicating to me through rhythm and song. It seemed terribly sedate when my friends pulled the church van up to pick me up. I just wanted to stay there planted in the wonder of it all.
Elizabeth came to full term and bore her son John, the long awaited miracle child. It was quite the event and news story and people came to see if it was true - an old crone gives birth to a healthy little boy. After a full term of silence Zechariah could speak again after writing his son's name. The world had changed in a blink of an eye and everyone marveled and wondered. What was God doing? Is this a sign or a portent? I imagine Elizabeth had her hands full, as any new mother does, worrying less about the the religious significance and more about the vulnerable, needy little bundle. She was consumed with gratefulness, joy and utter exhaustion. And there was the messenger of God, the blessing in her old age, needing her completely. She was thrilled to be needed by God, thrilled to care for the miracle God gave her.
Today, I want to remember that God is constantly wondrous and marvelous, constantly giving us gifts and signs, constantly in care for us and presence with us. May we like Elizabeth rejoice in having our hands full and be grateful for the many gifts God has given us. As we are consumed by duty and responsibility may we remember that these same responsibilities are miracles and blessings from God. The ordinary becomes extraordinary and God is with us.