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Sunday, December 6, 2015
Today’s Reading | Luke 1:39–55
In 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.” And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” (NRSV)
Recently my niece gave birth to her long-awaited first child, a beautiful baby girl named Savannah. Her arrival was met with enthusiastic family love, joy, and gratitude to God.
Life and scripture tells us that announcements of children to be born can be met with various responses. Luke 1:39–55 shares part of the story of the virgin Mary, pregnant with Jesus, and her much older relative Elizabeth, who would soon give birth to John the Baptist despite her advanced age and—until now—barrenness.
Mary’s pregnancy, and Elizabeth’s, may have seemed impossible to Mary, but her visit with Elizabeth strengthened her faith when greeted with the acknowledgement, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” Mary responded with, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.” Mary glorified God, accepting and recognizing the gift and responsibility she had been given, and in doing so, Mary became a role model for all generations.
This suggests to me that parents and those involved in raising children, such as my family with Savannah, are responsible for teaching Christian values as early as children are old enough to hear and understand. The family is to lead the way for spiritual growth, with the church providing the support and resources parents need. To do this, parents and families, like Mary, must first love and obey God.
Good and gracious God, let us always remember that every child born is a special blessing from you. As we dedicate our children to you, give us the wisdom to train them in the ways you would have them to go. These things we ask in the name of your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Written by Hope Daniels, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church
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