December 22, 2016
Psalm 80 · Isaiah 29:13-24
22 I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. 25 Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 People will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practices abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city. On either side of the river is the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, producing its fruit each month; and the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 Nothing accursed will be found there any more. But the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him; 4 they will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.
39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
56 And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.
Today is my mom’s birthday. She has carried and sustained the life of six human beings in her body. We have all probably accomplished some stuff here and there with our lives, but the capacity and sacrifice of bearing and caring for human life is one of the most profound endeavors. Elizabeth recognizes this significant role that Mary plays in human history by being the bearer of the incarnate Christ. She says to Mary, “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” Mary responds with gratitude at the gift of participating in bringing Christ into the world. In this, the mother of our Lord shows us what it looks like to prepare for and receive Christ.
We, like Mary, are invited to receive Christ. We, too, can respond with a resounding “Yes!” to bear Christ in the world. The Church is the body of Christ—the hands, feet, and mouth of Christ. We are called to carry the light and life of Christ in us to our families, friends, and neighbors. We can respond in gratitude and joy at the gift that has come to us in Christ, and the opportunity to participate in bringing that gift to others.
Let us remember that the infinite light has come into the world and when he comes again “we will see his face, and his name will be on our foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be our light.”
- Janna Mahoney Ziegler
In prayer, consider the ways in which Christ’s light can illuminate your life and how you might be a bearer of Christ’s light and life.