Dr Di Rayson captures our collective weariness and longing as we begin our Advent journey in 2020.
On the nineteenth day of Advent, 2020, Rachel Turner explores the mystery of waiting.
Waiting for a tiny taste of something
In those days Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the baby leaped in her womb.
And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit, and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! And why is this granted to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting came to my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.”
Luke 1:39-45 (ESV)
Of all the images in the Our Mob: God’s Story Bible, the one that moved me most was “Mary and Elizabeth” by Daphne Davis. It shows the older woman, Elizabeth and the younger woman, Mary, meeting in the Australian landscape that is full of promise. I don’t really understand all of it and that is perhaps part of its appeal: its mystery. Mary will still have to wait a long time, decades even, until she sees the fulfilment of God’s promise in her Son, Jesus, overcoming death. God’s people had been waiting a long time before this - since the beginning of time in fact. Here, Elizabeth confirms God’s promise to Mary. In the weary waiting, it is a moment of joy for both women and their children (Luke 1:39-45).
So, we wait just a few days now till Christmas. The arrival of Christmas Day will not solve all our problems or immediately bring justice to all those who suffer. We may find ourselves still weary in our waiting. But hopefully, it does bring a tiny taste of something that we have been waiting for.
Like Elizabeth, I have been waiting on God a long time, faithfully opening the Scriptures each day. Watching. Waiting. Sometimes not even sure what I am waiting for.
Along comes Mary. In her we see a promise of something we may never see in this life, and something in our spirit finds a moment of mutual joy. Or like Mary, we may be just starting out on our adventure with God, trying to follow his bewildering promise.
Regardless of our journey, we sit together in the lead up to Christmas. We wait together. What are we waiting for this Christmas? Maybe we are waiting for just a tiny bit of hope from Jesus, still in his mother’s womb, waiting to be born. I am hoping for just a tiny bit of understanding, for myself and for others, of the issues that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in these lands now called Australia, deal with every day.
Rachel Turner is an emerging writer focussing on Australian theological issues. She has a Master of Arts (Theological Studies) and is placed in Sydney. She is interested in listening to the stories of older people, including her mum.