You should have heard it! The kids all sitting up there in front, dressed in white, wings covered in cotton wool and glitter. They fidgeted: some waiting for their chance at the microphone, others hoping their turn wouldn’t come.
Apart from the occasional nose-picker, they sat still.
Then it came. An excited squawk broke out from the row behind me, “Jake! Jake!!!” Two rows in front of me, a head of blonde curls flung around and, catching Luke’s eye, squealed his greeting. Both boys wriggled and yelled in between chuckles. More heads turned and grinned as parents did their best to hush the toddlers.
I swallowed a giggle and watched the rest of the nativity play. As the kids re-enacted the story, my mind kept returning to the day Mary went to stay with Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favoured, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfil His promises to her!” Luke 1:41-45
“In a loud voice she exclaimed.”
Elizabeth’s greeting wasn’t dignified. She yelled!
I’m sure she turned heads that day, her excited chatter cutting across the everyday hush. In her womb, John didn’t merely wriggle, he leaped! Can you hear the two women giggling as they rested their hands on Elizabeth’s swollen belly waiting for John to leap again?
Even in the wait before birth, before each boy was revealed to the world, John recognised Jesus and he was thrilled.
In this season of Advent we remember that waiting period. As a child I remember peeling back a window on the advent calendar, revealing the small chocolate hidden behind.
My brothers and I took turns, each getting a chocolate every three days, as we anticipated Christmas day. Our motivation then was looking forward to our gifts. We held onto the hope of receiving something hidden from view.
Even before John saw Jesus he recognised the sound of hope in Mary’s voice and responded to it.
When you look forward, what do you see? Does the future excite you? Does it fill you with unease? Or even dread?
Whatever you can see, know that hope is waiting for you, waiting to be unwrapped. Almost two thousand years ago God offered the world hope when He gave us the gift of His Son. Today, because of Jesus, that same God of hope is waiting to fill you with His joy and peace, so that hope can overflow in you. Don’t be shy- yell out your gratitude and grab onto that hope with both hands!
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13