Today's Lectionary Text
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
Restore us, O God;
O Lord God of hosts,
Restore us, O God of hosts;
Luke 1:39-45In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
She lives in the basement in the storage room. At about 60 years of age, she does look a little worn, in her well-sewn homemade jammies, coat, and hat. In the early 1960s she was all the rage. Her name was and is Betsy Wetsy. One year I was waiting for her; she was at the top of my Santa list. Then, a couple of weeks before Christmas, I saw her sitting on the overhead shelf in my parents’ closet. (Why was I in my parents’ closet?)
Waiting – such a hard thing to do. It is a theme that runs throughout Scripture. It was hard to do in biblical times, too. The first chapter of Luke describes the actions of Elizabeth and Mary as they wait. Today children are waiting to find out what presents they will get on Christmas. They are shaking wrapped presents, sneaking around the house looking in every hiding place they can imagine – jumping, jumping, jumping in anticipation and excitement. As adults we wait too. We wait for our big break at work, for grades to be posted, for the check to appear in the mail, for the grocery store to get that cereal in stock.
How could we spend our waiting? What devious acts could we employ to ensure that the gift at the top of our list is there to be opened? Is it possible that the waiting is a part of the gift?
Times of expectation are good seasons to prepare. Preparing attitudes and hearts to receive the longed-for gift might make the getting even more joyful. Reflecting on why a particular gift is so important could suggest ways a gift might be used. This season of waiting could be a time to work on listening for God and of looking for where the baby might appear unexpectedly in the world.
Focusing the impatient energy that accompanies waiting might lead us to discover places in the world in need. Matching our own gifts and abilities to those places of need would be a worthwhile expenditure of the hours of waiting. Could we serve, hands-on, in a local service agency? Who do we know that would appreciate an hour of our time to visit and laugh and cry together? Where might our checkbooks contribute to fulfilling a deep need, either nearby or on the opposite side of the globe.
Choose, then. During my waiting will I jump up and down, sneak around, watch the clock to see how quickly this day will pass, so that the next day, and the next, and the next might happen. Or will I find a place or a way to serve and then go offer myself in that way. Surely, the second option will make the time go faster. Even more importantly choice #2 is the one that allows for moving a step or two in the direction of helping God’s kingdom become reality.
Maybe I should just choose that one.
-Rev. Dianne Tombaugh
Retired Diaconal Minister
Prayer for Reflection
Holy God. As we wait to celebrate your birth once again, make us aware of the gifts we have received from you. Show us how to share those gifts with the world. Amen.
This Week's Lectionary
This Week's Liturgical Color