Advent reminds us of waiting for fulfilment of promises to come.
It gives us hope that we will see answers to our prayers.
Have resurrection revival of our discarded dreams.
Ability to see signs of fruitfulness from what seemed barren before.
Elizabeth was barren, bereft of her dream of becoming a mother.
On the surface, she appeared to settle for being seen as one whose womb God had somehow forgotten to bless.
Resigned to rattling around her rooms with no tiny arms reaching for hers, no child to carry and watch over.
A descended daughter of Aaron, she knew that God’s ways are not our ways.
But underneath, in her heart? Hope burned strong, maybe weaker over time but still a wick she was unwilling to have extinguished.
[bctt tweet=”Like us, Elizabeth lived with a sense that God hadn’t forgotten her, despite how things may appear.”]
She believed all things were possible for Him, even at this late stage of her life when her fertility would have naturally waned.
Wasn’t this the God whose wonder and glory was beyond all human comprehension, who performed miracles for her ancestors?
A God of miracles, of hope, faithfulness and abounding fruitfulness.
And so she continued to nurse the dream inside herself, faithfully longing for its birth.
Then one day her husband, Zachariah, was engaged in his priestly duties in the Lord’s temple when an angel of the Lord proclaimed to him the amazing news of Elizabeth’s fruitfulness to come.
He scorned its possibility and was accordingly rendered dumb for the duration of the pregnancy.
Because the proclamation proved to be true and his wife’s womb became enlivened with budding new life within.
And her child, John, became the designated prophet to announce Messiah’s imminent arrival in the world and prepare people for His coming.
Better still… her cousin, Mary, was chosen to bear the coming Saviour – what a cause for great celebration – what an awesome answer for years of waiting and faithful, persistent prayer!
A family potentially ostracised in society’s eyes (one for their barrenness and the other for a surprise pregnancy outside of marriage) was elevated in the eyes of God.
Doesn’t this speak hope into our own situations, long-standing hopes and plans?
[bctt tweet=”Let us take heart in seeing how fruitful our own lives can become when we’re rooted in Christ”]
All things are possible for those who believe. There is potential for change, for a life transforming ‘suddenly’ to occur at any time.
Yes, even for you and me sitting with our seemingly intractable circumstances, with the ache of unmet longings and broken dreams, disappointment and discouragement.
I’m not suggesting in any way that God is like a slot-machine Father Christmas ready to meet our every request. By no means.
God’s perfect will prevails; His wisdom reigns and His timing is unfathomable to us.
But Elizabeth’s experience encourages us to come to Him with steadfast faith, persistent prayer, renewed hope and expectation for Advent and beyond.
Lord of Life,
We live with wintry dreams
frosted over, buried deep
with paused plans and
spurious schemes we seek
to carry out, but they lie
sealed by fear and doubt
May we, like Elizabeth,
swell with renewed life
and hope within, our
to Your Spirit’s breath
and invitation to welcome
May we bear
signs of fruitfulness
despite long years
of waiting and resignation
May You ignite a spark
within our hearts and
open up our shuttered
doors once more