"Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.
On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, ‘No; he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘None of your relatives has this name.’Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. Fear came over all their neighbours, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. All who heard them pondered them and said, ‘What then will this child become?’ For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.
Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:
‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has looked favourably on his people and redeemed them."
I had a dream this week of Advent coming like a old fashioned horror movie, complete with a giant baby Jesus chasing me through the streets. Sometimes, Advent can feel that way. Like trying to stay one step ahead of chaos and disaster. There is too much to do and so little time to do it. It can be anything but peaceful. It’s stressful and overwhelming. In our streets, stores, workplaces and homes, this season is frantic and exhausting. In our churches, in our hearts, it doesn’t have to be that way. We can experience Advent as a peaceful and life giving time. It takes discipline. It takes patience.
Catholic woman religious, Rose Marie Berger offers this breathing practice as a reminder.
Slowly breathe in on the “Ad” part and breathe out on the “vent” part...Breathe In. Breathe out. Ad Vent There! You prayed today. Keep it up! And May the peace that passes understanding guard your hearts and minds. In Christ’s name, Amen
"Every valley shall be filled,
and every mountain and hill shall be made low,
and the crooked shall be made straight,
and the rough ways made smooth;
and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” ’
Reverend Caren Teichmann
First Christian Church Paris, TN