The Virgin Mary was expecting. That’s really where it all begins. The Old Testament prophecies that she grew up listening to were all about to be fulfilled with the birth of her first child.
A Savior was to be born, nine months to the moment the angel Gabriel appeared to her. Her anticipation must have been overwhelming, especially given her younger age.
Soon, the Christ child is coming.
Her cousin Elizabeth, once barren, was also expecting. She would be the mother of John the Baptist, the man who would lead the way for the ministry of Jesus, the Christ child. The anticipation must have been overwhelming to Elizabeth as well, given her older age.
Though expecting the birth of her first child, she would also be the one to encourage Mary. She would be the one to comfort and advise Mary from the beginning of her pregnancy.
Two miracle births to two otherwise very average women remind us of the power of great faith. The four weeks in advent is a time of expectation as we celebrate the coming of the two who will change the world, one before the other. The Christ child, the Son of God, will be born into humble circumstances, among the animals and the smells of a stable.
This sets the precedence that miracles can happen to any one of us with a strong faith. In fact, we should expect it.
In Luke 1:39-45, we learn that Elizabeth’s baby will leap for joy within her womb upon hearing Mary’s greeting. Perhaps, six months into the pregnancy, even John the Baptist knew that the Savior was coming and that he would play a role in making that happen! Within three months of each other, these expectant women will give birth to children that will save this world from its sins, messenger first, Savior second.
By the end of Advent’s fourth week, we know that we are only moments away from the salvation those humble beginnings will bring. Advent gives us the opportunity to expect great things from otherwise “common” people.
Each of us can make a difference in this world, one smile, one kind word, one act of service, and one prayer at a time. As we await the moment of our Savior’s birth as a community, consider what role you will play in making the way for Christ in this world.
Rev. Dr. April Fehler, Associate Pastor at First United Methodist Church in Waxahachie.