Leap for Joy Friday, December 10, 2021
For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy.
For most couples it is a joyful experience to learn that they have a child on the way. This is especially true for those who have waited a long time to become parents.
Aged Zechariah and his barren wife, Elizabeth, found out about her pregnancy in a most unusual way. An angel appeared to Zechariah and told him that his wife, Elizabeth, would bear a son and his name would be John.
Imagine the joy that Elizabeth felt being in the presence of her cousin, Mary, who was also pregnant! Imagine the joy that Elizabeth felt as she was filled with the Holy Spirit, being in the presence of the Son of God. John felt so much joy that he leaped in his mother’s womb. John knew that he was in the presence of the One that the world had been waiting for. Even in his mother’s womb, he knew that he would play a major role in preparing the world for the arrival of the Messiah. The infertility Elizabeth suffered is an unspoken affliction many couples share today. And when God blesses a couple with a child after a long wait, there is joy beyond description.
We can certainly identify with today’s scripture. Just as Elizabeth yearned for a child, we also waited seven years for a pregnancy. We had gone through tests and interviews for the adoption process. In order to be eligible for adoption, we had to have a doctor tell us that we could not have a child. It was a sad day when Margaret was handed that very news. But eventually we were told by the adoption agency that we needed to prepare our nursery as we were next in line for a child.
Imagine the joy we felt when we learned Margaret was pregnant! We couldn’t believe it. Although the waiting was difficult, it made the anticipation of the birth of our child even more extraordinary. We might have leaped for joy but we can’t remember if we did.
Advent is a time of waiting and preparation. Elizabeth and Mary knew that they were chosen by God to bring forth children who would change the world. John knew even in his mother’s womb that he, as an adult, would pave the way for the coming of the long-awaited Messiah. John knew his role was to prepare the way for someone who was greater than he. He leaped for joy at the prospect.
Gracious God, console those infertile couples who long for a child. Amen.
Dale and Margaret Basinger
St. John’s Lutheran Church, Salisbury, NC
This devotional is a joint project between Christmas Lutheran (Bethlehem) and St. John’s (Salisbury, NC).