Women hold center stage this Sunday. Two women—one near the end of her life, the other at the beginning. Two women, each of whom received a gift they had not asked for—pregnancy.
Elizabeth was the childless geriatric wife an equally-elderly temple priest. For all their married life they had prayed for the gift of a child, but to no avail.
Mary was a virgin teenager engaged to the village carpenter. They, too, hoped to have children but not now. Not yet. Not this way.
We know that Elizabeth carried a son named John, whom Isaiah had foretold: “A voice crying out in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord.’” Mary carried Jesus, a child who, according to the angel would “be great, the Son of the Most High God.” On Sunday these unlikely mothers meet to share both their joy and their confusion.
The story of these two women and their faithful confidence is an Advent gift to those of us who struggle to trust God’s timing, God’s wisdom, God’s plan.
Please join us on the Fourth Sunday of Advent for the lighting of the last candle on our wreath and words of promise in our ears. Our children will gather at 9:30 a.m. for Children’s Music, and then at 9:45 a.m. for Godly Play, which this week includes Christmas costume drama. During worship at 10 a.m. we celebrate Advent Lessons and Carols, an opportunity to hear and sing the hopeful longing of the season.
We will meet again for worship on Christmas Eve, December 24:
Festival Worship and Children’s Pageant, 4:00 p.m.
Festival Worship with Baptism, 7:00 p.m.
Christmas Eve Vespers, 9:00 p.m.
The First Sunday of Christmas, December 30, will find us worshipping at Northfield Community Church. My colleagues Rector Lisa Senuta, St. James the Less Episcopal Church and Pastor Duayne Meyer, Northfield Community Church, will preside; I will preach. Supervised childcare will be provided and a Festive Reception will follow.
If Advent teaches us anything it is that God does not keep time the way we do, and that God always answers prayer, though often in unlikely ways. I keep you close in my thoughts and prayers on these dark days of winter, praying God to lighten your life and your load.
Pastor JoAnn Post