Saturday of the Third Week of Advent
Book of Judges 13:2-7, 24-25a; Psalm 71; Luke 1:5-25
The Angel Appearing to Zacharias by William Blake, circa 1800
For the past three weeks, I have been reminding our readers that Advent is a season of renewal and anticipation. It is also a season of hope. In today's readings, both Manoah's wife and Elizabeth, Zechariah's wife, after being unable to have children for many years, learn from angels that they will both have a child. When they learn that their hopes have been answered, they praise God. How often have we hoped for something to happen in our lives, and then, when what we hoped for happens, we forget to turn to God in thanksgiving for the blessings we received. Perhaps we don't recognize the gifts we receive each day?
Normally, we don't recognize the angels in our lives. We hold to the image that we are in control of our lives, and it is through our own efforts that change for the better or, the worse occurs. Personally, I know when I look back into my own life and remember the times that I hoped for something and turned to God, I can see that my prayers were answered, but often not in the way I wished. These unexpected changes to our lives, which upon first look appear to be additional burdens, are actually gifted by God. Robert Frost, in his poem, talked of wanting to walk the road not taken. We need to be open to God's blessings, even those not expected.
A priest friend once told me at a baptism that each time a new baby is born, we are given proof that God has not given up hope on humankind. We know God has never given up hope on us. The challenge is not to lose hope in God.
Question of the Day: How will you express your gratitude to God when your prayers have been answered?
Prayer: He who is to come will come and will not delay, and now there will be no fear within our land, for he is our Savior. (Hebrews 10:37)