December 17

A Message that Moves Us

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. Luke 1:39-41

How do you behave when the impossible occurs? In today’s reading, John’s amazing leap poses that question to Elizabeth and her relative Mary.

John’s movement went beyond the expected six-month stirring of an infant in his mother’s womb. First, the boy’s joy kept Gabriel’s promise to John’s father, Zechariah. The angel had prophesied that the priest’s son would “be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born” (Luke 1:15). Still three months from his own delivery, John knew and celebrated that Mary was pregnant. John recognized Jesus, whose human body was the size of a mere poppy seed, as the Son of God. This understanding could come only from the Lord.

Second, the Holy Spirit gave John and his mother, Elizabeth, another astounding perception. Mary’s baby would keep a pledge made to all sinners in the Garden of Eden. John and Elizabeth proclaimed the Savior’s earthly arrival to redeem God’s fallen children. Their certainty had one source. Christ alone. Moved by the gift of faith, these unlikely mothers had one response to the impossible. They rejoiced! They used everything in their power to praise and thank their loving God.

How do you and I respond to miracles? This world’s wonders peak at lottery triumph, astonishing weight loss, and happiness-granting gadgets. Instead, faith perceives miracles that are authentic. Scripture promises extraordinary realities.

Each day, God delivers. What is our reaction? Baptism vanquishes incurable sin and erases our incalculable debt before God. Communion invites us to share in the physical body and blood of a Savior who died and rose again to rescue us from hell. Prayer provides an instant, unlimited audience with the Creator of all things. Each year, Advent affirms that God sacrificed his holy Son to earn eternal paradise for you.

Our certainty has one source. Christ alone. Moved by the gift of faith, we have one response to the impossible. We rejoice! We use everything in our power to praise and thank our loving God.

Dear Lord, move me to celebrate the impossibilities foretold in your Word and fulfilled in my life. Please guide my words and actions to reflect gratitude for your limitless mercy and love. Amen.

Professor Paul Grubbs serves Martin Luther College as a professor of English.