Rev. Dawn M Adams is the minister of the First Congregational Church of Brimfield (MA), UCC. She is the mother of two grown children and spouse and partner with George. This year, she also became an immediate grandmother to an 8 year old, and did some waiting of her own as she awaited the birth of her twin grandchildren, Aubrey and Amelia, who were born in September.
Scripture: Luke 1: 39-45, (46–55) (NRSV)
Mary Visits Elizabeth
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’
Mary’s Song of Praise
And Mary said,
‘My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.’
Reflection: The Lost Art of Waiting
Whoever wrote the proverbial phrase, “Patience is a virtue” probably was not, and never had been, pregnant. Waiting, in general, is difficult enough, but it becomes even more difficult when your body is stretched to the limit in the last months of pregnancy.
Somehow something that started so small, so delicate, so almost insignificant has, over the course of 40 weeks, grown into a desperate desire to push, an urge for now, an un-ignorable plea for life outside the womb. Waiting, especially in those last weeks of pregnancy, seems to be more than anyone can bear.
In a world where, exotic flowers and fruits can be on your doorstep in a day, and books no longer even need to be printed or bound to be read, waiting has become a lost art. Why should we wait, when one can have almost anything right now?
Waiting, though, often has its own necessary objectives: ripening, preparing, completing, maturing. Waiting is not just a time before something else; it is a time with its own purpose. It is a time meant for the finishing of things. It is a time to develop anticipation, amplify expectation, encourage hope, and inspire deep reflection. It is a time to dream and to do everything in our power to make sure that everything is ready for the impending arrival.
This makes me wonder what this time of waiting might look like if we realized we were not just awaiting the birth of one single child, but realized that God was doing so much more than that. What if we realized God was inaugurating a whole new way of being? What if what is being born is a whole new society? What if this waiting brought forth justice and peace, and transformed this world into God’s kin-dom?
What would a baby shower on that scale look like? What would be worthy to present? What might we prepare for in anticipation of that?
Holy Creator, who continues creating, give us pause this Advent to savor the waiting. Let us sit attentively in the soon but not yet. Encourage us to imagine what is being born and how we might prepare ourselves and the world to receive it. Prevent us from running too quickly to Christmas morning, too quickly to the fulfillment. Invite us into the creation of a world ready to accept your most precious gift, your son Jesus Christ. AMEN
New Prayer Requests:
We ask churches and church leaders to join us in the following prayers either by sharing them during worship, printing them in bulletins, or sharing them in some other way. To make a prayer request, please contact Drew Page at firstname.lastname@example.org
Prayers of Intercession:
- For the victims and their families of the 667 mass shootings already carried out in 2021 including a shooting at a candlelight vigil in Texas at which 13 people were injured and one killed
- For the families and friends of more than 793,000 who have died due to the Covid-19 disease
- For those affected by the tornadoes that struck central and southern U.S states last week, killing at least 50 people and leaving many without homes in the winter cold
- For the family and friends of Rev. Peter Dakers, UCC pastor from the Litchfield North Association, who died on Dec. 8
Prayers of Joy and Thanksgiving:
- For all the Firsts that will be enjoyed this holiday season
This Week in History:
December 15, 1791 (230 years ago) The first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, become law as the state of Virginia becomes the 10th state to ratify the amendments. In all, there were 12 amendments, but one would never be ratified, and a law involving payment of Congress would be ratified 200 year later. Some of these changes to the U.S. Constitution included protections of free speech, rights of assembly, religious exercises, and the right to bear arms, all issues that continue to be debated 230 years later.
“Study the past if you would define the future.”
Dawn Adams is a member of the Immigration, Refugee and Asylum Task Team, and pastor of First Congregational Church of Brimfield, UCC (MA).