Despite the differences in their situations – the unlikely pregnancy of an old woman who bore the shame of barrenness for years and the completely impossible pregnancy of a young unwed virgin – these two women faced many of the same challenges as first-time mothers.
A fruit tree that doesn’t bear fruit, like the one that belonged to my in-laws, is worthless. Its lack of fruit indicates that something is wrong with the entire tree. Similarly, Jesus uses the harsh words in today’s lectionary passage to reveal that the Pharisee’s heart-orientation is wrong at the core.
As a young girl growing up in the church, I was always encouraged to base my faith on Mary’s. After all, she’s the mother of Jesus. She’s the epitome of being used to bring the …
We live in an interesting age. Most of the time now, it feels like the church is being, at best, marginalized, or perhaps – more often – trampled underfoot. Many scriptural truths are scorned by society at large, with that scorn perhaps teetering on the brink of tipping toward outright persecution.
For Joseph, there is little comfort in store. He will take in a wife about whom others whisper. He will make a cross-country trek with this wife while she is large with child, walking while she rides a donkey, only to see her give birth to the child not only among strangers, but among animals in a stable—the only place that Joseph could find for her.
As you wait this Christmas season, in the midst of drought or at the onset of a long winter, as you wait for the promised one who we all need no matter how great or small, look around at what God has wrought, how he might be bringing to birth a new creation even in the midst of drought—and praise!