Happy Fourth Sunday of Advent Friends,
The Gospel today is one of my favorites, the story of the Annunciation...of Mary and Elizabeth coming together each to help the other in their time of need, as well as to share a great joy.
For so many years and in so many places I've prayed with this reading, I am always touched by the idea of these two amazing women, one young, one not so young, being able to spend this amazing time of their lives together in love, support, care and creativity. Can you imagine the baby clothes being knitted...or whatever they did in the middle east to prepare for the birth of such beloved sons?
That time must have been such a treasure to those cousins.
Today it is the last line of the Gospel that is compelling to me: Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord, would be fulfilled.
In my own life I know this is absolutely true! There are many times when I can now see that God has called, moved and directed me (most times unknowingly) towards a certain path. That path always leads, eventually, to greater life and love in Him. As I get older I realize that the trick is to listen a bit more to try and hear where God is leading and what God might be asking of me. In order to believe what God has said to me, I need to quiet down enough to hear God's voice.
I am getting better at trusting that God's promise will be fulfilled. Even more, realizing that fulfillment will come in God's time and not my own. That doesn't mean that there aren't small moments of doubt along the way, they just don't overpower me as much. Recently someone shared a quote with me, attributed to Joan of Arc- "I am not afraid, I was born for this!" I've been praying with this line a lot. First of all, I think Joan should have been, and I am sometimes, a little afraid...but beyond that very human emotion, I would like to think that I am living the life God imagined for me. That these years of service to the church, the honor of working with as many families as I have, the love shared in my own circle of family and friends, all of this, nothing big, just normal day to day life, is what God had in mind for me. And I feel very lucky, very blessed by the gifts given to me in my life.
So, I do believe that God's promises are fulfilled to me and on a much larger scale, to our world. I know we as a world don't listen well. Maybe that will be my prayer this Christmas day, that in the midst of the suffering and pain, the violence and heartache that seems so prevalent today, I can pray that more people will begin to take the time to listen to the quiet voice of God in their hearts and create small pockets of peace in our world. Maybe those small little peaceful places can grow big enough to cover the world with hope!