Monday, June 23, 2014

Be a Grateful Witness

By Beth DeCristofaro

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child she gave birth to a son. … He will be called John. …  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. The child grew and became strong in spirit   (Luke 1: 57, 60, 66)

Dear God Our Heavenly Father, 
May my life be witness and an offering of thanks for the great gifts you have given to your people.  You give Your people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of our sins.  Because of the tender mercy of our God, daybreak from on high will visit us to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
        (reimagined from Zachariah’s Canticle, Luke 1:76-79)

Recently babies have been born to friends or the children of friends and such news always fills me with an irrational joy for the babe and parents.  Babies smell just as wonderful as warm, fresh baked bread and they fill me with hope, a sense of potential and an opportunity to form new communities.  I love learning more about myself and creation as I see the world anew in the eyes of a child.  Welcome to the world, Poppy and Jacob!

Elizabeth and John sensed God’s presence in their newborn.  Going against the tradition of naming the baby after family, they called him by a name which means “Yahweh Is Gracious” or “The Lord Graciously Gave”.   Did they, does any parent (aunt, uncle or committed friend) realize how gracious, indeed, is God as we feed a baby, correct a wayward tween, guide an idealistic teenager?  Elizabeth and Zachariah gave over trust to God.  God tasked their baby boy with being the herald of the Messiah.  What does God have in store for any baby today whether born in Fairfax, Rome, Syria, India, Thailand, or Argentina?

Do we appreciate the graciousness of God in the little things of life?  What can I do to share the graciousness of God with the vulnerable?  There are children in our communities that are homeless, neglected, abused, refugees or separated from family because of immigration issues.  What can I do to help one child who might be tasked by God to be a herald of the Word?

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