Courage, My Son

Mary returned to Nazareth, and in time, it became known that she was with child. While she knew her conception was through the Holy Spirit, the people around her assumed she had been unfaithful to Joseph, the one who was bound to her legally but not yet physically. Joseph, a carpenter by trade, had spent hours excitedly preparing their home for their long-awaited union. And then this. This news that Mary was pregnant — and he knew he was not the father.

Christmas Cookies

We have traditionally made cookies around the holidays, including at Christmastime, to share with our neighbors. While the business of life can make it hard to connect with those in such close proximity to us, making and delivering cookies is an easy way to bless your neighbors and break the ice, so you can say “hi” at the mailbox, invite them over for dinner, or talk to them about Jesus.

Mary, Do Not Be Afraid

In the days when Elizabeth had emerged from hiding with a baby bump announcing her good news of God granting her conception, a sweet relative named Mary was having her own surprise visit from the angel Gabriel. “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you,” he declared to this young maiden of Nazareth, a community of peasants who worked the fields and lived under the crushing oppression of Rome. 

Surprise!

In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years. In an honor-shame culture in which children were a sign of blessing, Elizabeth lived barren, wearing a stigma that God was somehow displeased with her. But as God displayed in the stories of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Rachel, Elkanah and Hannah, God was in the business of surprising His people when the gray hairs came and any hope of fertility had vanished. God was about to move in a mighty way.

Glimmers of Hope

Before God sent His Son to earth, He raised up men and women to speak on His behalf. The job of a prophet required humble people who weren’t motivated by pet projects or celebrity status but rather chose at all costs to be the audible voice of the unseen God. They were tasked with communicating His will, never their own, and explaining what it meant to live lives set apart for His glory. The assignment wasn’t an easy one. God asked them to move outside their comfort zones to face tremendous opposition and discomfort, but they knew the blessing in obedience. They had a crazy, amazing assignment to communicate for the God of the universe about the Prophet, His Son, who would come one day to set all things right.