Take time to think about the upcoming celebrationPublished 9:09am Friday, December 21, 2012
Column: Across the Pastor’s Desk, by the Rev. Don Rose, United and Mansfield Lutheran churches
With just a few days left until the celebration of Christmas, there is a rush to get to the goal! Final presents to be obtained, baking to be done, cards yet to be sent all add to the desire on the part of many for Christmas to be past so that life can settle down. How many will already be removing decorations by Dec. 26 as for them the holiday will be over?
For those who celebrate the liturgical year and with it the season of Advent, the readings for this Sunday put the brakes on just enough to keep Christmas at bay. Particularly the Gospel reading allows us time to appreciate the faith of two women in very different places in their lives and yet sharing in the anticipation as well as the anxieties of being expectant mothers.
Elizabeth is in her old age and never expected that she would have a child at all much less at this time in her life. At the opposite end of things is the betrothed, young woman, Mary, who certainly looked forward to having children but not at this time in her life nor under these circumstances. It is no wonder that Mary would seek out Elizabeth to have a kindred spirit with whom to share the wonder of this time.
Each witnesses to the gift of faith that is hers. Elizabeth is the first to call Mary’s yet unborn child, my Lord. She extends three blessings to Mary, the third of which is perhaps the most import. There Elizabeth asserts that Mary is blessed because she had faith to believe what she had been told regarding this child to whom she would give birth. Then Mary sings her song of praise proclaiming the good news of God’s involvement in the world and in the lives of God’s people. So certain is Mary of God’s faithfulness she sings of things as if they have already been accomplished in her life and in the world.
As anxious as we might be to rush to Christmas, it is good to slow down and take our time. It is important to listen to Mary and Elizabeth, to experience their faith and witness. In doing so we too will find ourselves blessed by faith and prepared to make Mary’s sing our own and the world’s.