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Advent, Gospel, Motherhood, Parenting

When Your Hopes and Dreams for Your Child Don’t Turn Out the Way You Planned

Wednesday 23 December 2020

Luke 1:57-66

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her, and they rejoiced with her. When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child, they were going to call him Zechariah after his father, but his mother said in reply, “No. He will be called John.” But they answered her, “There is no one among your relatives who has this name.” So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called. He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,” and all were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. Then fear came upon all their neighbors, and all these matters were discussed throughout the hill country of Judea. All who heard these things took them to heart, saying, “What, then, will this child be?” For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.


Parents have great hopes and dreams more often than not when they bring a child into the world. What will he or she become? We pray for health and for happiness, surely. But many pray that the gifts God bestows on them will be used well and appreciated by the child, that the gifts will be used to glorify God. Whatever the hopes and prayers, things don’t always turn out the way we expect.

At some point, when expectations are dashed, parents need to pray new prayers for their children, especially our young-adult children,: “Lord, give them the grace they need to overcome the struggles. Give them peace. Heal them. Comfort them. Be with them. Keep them safe from harm. Shield them from pain, from evil. Help them to know You’re with them always, that we’re here for them. Let them know we love them unconditionally just like You do, Lord. We may not love them as much as You do, but we love them as much as is humanly possible.”

Even Elizabeth and Zechariah were probably initially disappointed or confused, certainly, by John the Baptist’s life choices. He was living in the desert, wearing nothing but camel’s hair clothing and a leather belt, and eating honey and wild locusts. He spoke truth to power. He spoke of the Truth that is Jesus, the Lamb of God. Not so long after, Jesus would mourn his death.

What we envision for the future of our children or ourselves is rarely what occurs. God’s has a plan, and it is for our salvation. We have to trust Him and what he wants for us and our children which is, ultimately, eternal life with him. Life here isn’t always what we planned.

Lynda MacFarland

Meditation

Let’s ask God, recalling the mercy he shows us through the passion, death, and resurrection of his Son, to help our unbelief.


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Advent, Bible, Gospel, Uncategorized, Women's Ministry

Is the Bible Still Relevant? Gospel Reflection Friday of the Second Week of Advent

Friday 11 December

Matthew 11:16-19

Jesus said to the crowds: “To what shall I compare this generation? It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance, we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”


Some people say that the Bible is no longer relevant. Well, hello! This passage is timeless. It’s like Jesus knew he would be dealing with us thousands of years into the future.

We still admonish one another like this today.  In these COVID-19 days, if someone is extremely cautious, we accuse them of being too risk averse.  If someone is a risk taker, we accuse them of being reckless. This sort of rhetoric sounds like old school Bible stuff. We’re making the same mistakes as the children in today’s parable.  We’re not listening to one another or seeking to understand.  

It was easier for people to dismiss John the Baptist, as an eccentric Essene who ate locusts, than it was to listen to his prophetic message.  It was easier for some to persecute Jesus’ message of love, and indeed, his very identity, than it was to accept that the Messiah had come.

I don’t think many of us are at our best nearly nine months into the Corona Virus. Many of us have lost loved ones. Some of us have consumed a few more adult beverages than typically imbibed. Some of us are nursing our feelings with Double Stuff Oreos. “Meme-ing” has become both a verb and national pastime because making light of this surreal years is easier than actually dealing with it.  

But we know that, “wisdom is vindicated by her works” (Mt 11:19). In Luke’s Gospel, this parable is preserved as “wisdom is vindicated by all her children” (Lk 7:35). This is a somewhat confusing phrase, but it means that John and Jesus are the children of Widsom. The works of John and Jesus are those of divine Wisdom.

But what of our actions? I’d like to think that as the pandemic has gone on, Wisdom is being vindicated in our works, too. People have begun taking care to prepare healthier snacks and beverages.  We’re righting the ship, so-to-speak. People are placing more value on family and friends, and the time we can spend together. Prayer has become more commonplace among those who may have strayed from faith, and on-line church services boomed. We have begun to look out for our neighbors, which may be one of the most healing balms of all, and this all harkens back to Jesus’ command to love one another.

Muffy Patterson

To Ponder

What Bible passage speaks to you in 2020 as if it were just written or spoken today for the very first time?