Today we begin another year, 2014. I started my day with a walk in the January sunshine, still reflecting on the Advent and Christmas realities — they have captivated me anew. Things are in bloom here in Arizona, just as there are spaces opening within me, ready to be filled with new life and wonder. The sky is a brilliant blue. The sun is warm. A soft breeze brushes my skin and fills my nose with fragrances of spring. There is too much beauty and bloom here to capture with my amateur photography skills, but every corner seems to have something to proclaim, so I went back for my camera. As I uploaded the images I caught, I read through the Gospel of Luke again and read the story in the vibrant blooming life all around me. Would you take this walk with me?
Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.
Zechariah’s wife became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
Greetings you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you…The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.
Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear…Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.
His mercy extends to those who fear him from generation to generation. He has filled the hungry with good things…
Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and redeemed his people…to show mercy…to rescue us…to enable us to serve him without fear.
Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.
Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people…This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.
There was also a prophetess Anna…She was very old…eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to Mary and Joseph, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom and the grace of God was upon him.
May the Lord bless you with the faith to see his story living in and around you each day. Happy New Year!