Tag Archives: John the Baptist

Elizabeth – Unexpected News

Taken from my 2015 book Voices Through Advent and Christmas, available through Moorleys

Based on Luke 1:5-15

Well, Zechariah came home with a right tale today.

Well, I say that.  It would have been if he could have got it out, but for some reason he was having trouble speaking.  Oh men that go to the back of their caves when they’ve got something on their mind.  But what a tale it was.

Apparently (ahem), he’d seen an angel.  He was the Priest on duty, the one chosen to go into the Temple, and there it had happened.

Goodness knows Zechariah and I have not had the easiest life.  Our longing for children has never been satisfied.  We’ve tried everything and it’s just not happened, obviously not meant to be – though I don’t know what we’ve done to deserve such a curse.  And now it’s never going to happen.  I’m way past that now.

Except, that was the message Zechariah had got from this angel.  There will be a child, a boy.

For some reason we are to call him John, though there’s no John’s in the family.  Still if God’s going to do something this amazing, I guess we can let him name the baby too.  Because this is going to be no ordinary baby, he’s got something important to do for God.

I suppose all I can do is let God do what he needs to in and through me and the child I will carry.  Still can’t quite believe it.  Can’t get my head around it.  How will I cope with what God is asking of me?  I guess God only knows.

God of surprises and impossibilities,
may I be open to all you seek to do
in and through me.

May I hear your voice,
your call,
your challenge
and respond with my life. 

 https://youtu.be/4YPr0AD5MhQ

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Pondering Mary and Elizabeth

sculpture_of_mary_and_elizabeth
By Anton 17 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Luke 1:35-44 (CEV)
35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come down to you, and God’s power will come over you. So your child will be called the holy Son of God. 36 Your relative Elizabeth is also going to have a son, even though she is old. No one thought she could ever have a baby, but in three months she will have a son. 37 Nothing is impossible for God!”
38 Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant! Let it happen as you have said.” And the angel left her.
Mary Visits Elizabeth
39 A short time later Mary hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea. 40 She went into Zechariah’s home, where she greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, her baby moved within her.
The Holy Spirit came upon Elizabeth. 42 Then in a loud voice she said to Mary:
God has blessed you more than any other woman! He has also blessed the child you will have. 43 Why should the mother of my Lord come to me? 44 As soon as I heard your greeting, my baby became happy and moved within me.

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months. Then she went back home.

Listening to this account again yesterday something struck me that I’d never thought of before and I’m pretty sure I’ve never heard discussed or preached on.

If Mary went to visit Elizabeth when she was “in her sixth month” and stayed three months, would she have been there for the birth of John the Baptist.

I mused this question on Twitter this morning and got this great reply

Just wondering if anyone else has any thoughts on the question…

Ready? #Advent

Aleksander Ivanov - The Apparition of Christ to the People (PR)
Is this him?
The One we’ve been waiting for?
Is this The One God promised
who would rescue us
and take us home?
Is this God’s Chosen
showing us his ways,
telling us what God would have us do?

We are desperately looking for someone,
so in need of a hand to guide,
a shepherd to lead,
a leader to take us home.

Is he coming?
Shall we still wait?
will he come
and take us,
show us,
live in us?

He is coming.
But in his coming
there will be changes to make,
different ways of thinking
and living.
Generous ways,
selfless acts,
not wanting more
than is yours,
living
and helping others to live too.

Oh yes he is coming –
but are you really ready
for what that will mean?
It’s reality in your life,
what will be asked of you?

Are you ready for him to come?

The theme for the third week in Advent is The Lord’s Anointed.  We look to the one who is to come.

Luke 3:7-18 (CEV)

Crowds of people came out to be baptized, but John said to them, “You bunch of snakes! Who warned you to run from the coming judgment? Do something to show that you really have given up your sins. Don’t start saying that you belong to Abraham’s family. God can turn these stones into children for Abraham. An axe is ready to cut the trees down at their roots. Any tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into a fire.”

10 The crowds asked John, “What should we do?”

11 John told them, “If you have two coats, give one to someone who doesn’t have any. If you have food, share it with someone else.”

12 When tax collectors came to be baptized, they asked John, “Teacher, what should we do?”

13 John told them, “Don’t make people pay more than they owe.”

14 Some soldiers asked him, “And what about us? What do we have to do?”

John told them, “Don’t force people to pay money to make you leave them alone. Be satisfied with your pay.”

15 Everyone became excited and wondered, “Could John be the Messiah?”

16 John said, “I am just baptizing with water. But someone more powerful is going to come, and I am not good enough even to untie his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 17 His threshing fork is in his hand, and he is ready to separate the wheat from the husks. He will store the wheat in his barn and burn the husks with a fire that never goes out.”

18 In many different ways John preached the good news to the people.

Wild and Lone the Prophet’s Voice