Advent Devotional – Dec. 20

Dec. 20                            Luke 1:5-25                                   Erin Counihan

“This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.” -Luke 1:25

She called it disgrace. Elizabeth, when she became pregnant after all those years, she celebrated this promised beloved child, and she celebrated being liberated from her disgrace. Being freed from her own community, “my people” she called them.

I think I usually read this as a magic grant wishing moment. Of Elizabeth and Zechariah being rewarded for their faithfulness and also winning the God lottery and getting to have that dream they always dreamed, that wish of all wishes, finally in their old age having the baby they always wanted.

But this year, I noticed. In the one line the author gives her in this whole scene, Elizabeth is thankful for being released from her shame. Elizabeth is thankful for being restored to full standing in the community. Elizabeth is being granted justice and reparations and freedom and healing.

We talk so much about Jesus finding people on the margins, on the fringes, and helping and healing them in order to welcome them back into community. It’s a healing justice. But look at God here, setting up John, who will set up Jesus, by doing that very thing with Elizabeth.

This Advent, I am praying hard for that kind of healing and helping, that kind of relief and repair, that kind of liberation and justice, that restores our communities. And prepares us for what God might bring next….

God, take away our disgrace and restore us to one another. Remind us that you are with us on this journey toward community, justice, and welcome. Now and always. Amen.