~ Lk 1.65-66
When something unexpected happens, it is human nature to react with fear. Earlier in his Gospel, Luke vividly describes the terror that both the priest Zechariah and the young girl Mary felt when an angel of the Lord appeared with life-changing news. In today’s reading on the birth of John the Baptist, the rural Judean villagers who have just witnessed the non-traditional naming of this baby, and seen Zechariah’s surprising liberation from muteness, are similarly overcome with fear. Their instinct is to turn to one another and start talking about it. We can almost see the small groups huddled, glancing over at Elizabeth and Zechariah with their 8-day-old son, marveling at the restoration of Zechariah’s ability to speak after nine months of silence, wondering in hushed tones what it all meant. “What, then, will this child become?” they speculate. And by sharing their doubts and fears, they came to understand that God was present in these strange events.
We cannot go it alone as Christians; we need the companionship of others in times of uncertainty and confusion as well as in times of comfort and joy. In joining hands with our friends and neighbors, we become part of that “one great fellowship of love Throughout the whole wide earth” that Wm Arthur Dunkerley celebrates in the marvelous hymn “In Christ There is No East or West.” For it is in our communities of faith that we shore one another up, help one another when we stumble, and come to see the hand of the Lord at work in our individual and communal lives.
O God of the Trinity, May I not retreat into isolation in times of unrest or doubt, but reach out to seek solidarity in the support and wisdom of those around me. Amen.
For today’s readings, click here.
You can access the complete collection of the Advent 2015 Reflection Series here.