Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent | Janice Bonner

Antiphon:     O Emmanuel, Our King and Giver of Law:

Come to save us, Lord our God!

It had been nine months since he had doubted the hand of God working in their lives. Nine months. In the beginning, it had made sense to stubbornly cling to his denial. After all, the possibility that Elizabeth would be with child was about as likely as—as a virgin being with child. But as she grew larger and larger, he could no longer deny what God was bringing about.  Especially after her cousin’s visit, she carried herself with a quiet assurance that seemed to be grounded in her faith in the Lord God.

At first he saw his imposed silence as a punishment for his own lack of faith. As the months progressed, though, he began to view it as a blessing. It gave him time to probe scripture, to pray for understanding, to ask for forgiveness. And as the miraculous physical pregnancy took place in her, another pregnancy—equally miraculous but spiritual—occurred in him.  Now, they placed the tiny boy in his arms and asked for his son’s name. She had told him it should be John. Well, she had been right all along about this child, so if she says the name is John, that is what we shall name him. He held close to his heart the son he had thought he would never hold; in his joyous belief he gave birth to the hymn of praise that had been growing in him in nine months of silence.

Prayer: God, Mother and Father of us all, we don’t have nine months of contemplative silence to devote to praying about the wondrous event that will take place in a few days.  But we take the time today to pause with this reflection, to ask forgiveness for our times of doubt in you, to ask for wisdom that we may live in your presence each day of our lives and for gratitude for those moments in which we are aware of that presence.  Amen.

By Janice Bonner