Now Abraham was one hundred years old when his son Is son Isaac was born to him. Sarah said, “God has made laughter for me; everyone who hears will laugh with me.” And she said, “Who would have said to Abraham that Sarah would nurse children? Yet I have borne him a son in his old age.” The child grew and was weaned and Abraham made a great fest on the day that Isaac was weaned.Genesis 21:5-8
We began this Advent by reflecting on the hope of the promises of God to the oppressed and the exiled – prophecies of a coming Messiah. This past week, we contemplated that hope lived out as faith, the faith of God’s people that His promises were true, and God’s faithfulness to fulfill what He has promised.
With this third week of Advent we light the candle of Joy – the realization and fulfillment of all these things.
Jesus could have descended from heaven fully grown, appearing from on high to bring salvation to His people. But God chose that He would be born of a woman, that the story of His coming would be one of fulfillment and rejoicing.
“Shout for joy, O barren one, you who have borne no child; break forth into joyful shouting and cry aloud, you who have not travailed; for the sons of the desolate one will be more numerous than the sons of the married woman,” says the LORD.Isaiah 54:1
Who knows the depths of longing more than a woman wanting children, yet unable to conceive? Scripture is filled with stories of women like Sarah, Hannah, and Elizabeth – women who were burdened by longing, who were mocked, who were pitied, who’s hope and faith were stretched beyond measure. I am confident we’ve all known women who have struggled with their own infertility and more.
Now the time had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son. Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her.Luke 1:57-58
There is joy in the birth of any child, but how great the joy of those so desperately hoped for! Sarah and Abraham welcomed Isaac with laughter and feasting. Hannah sang in worship to God. Elizabeth’s entire community joined in her rejoicing.
How much more do we rejoice together at the birth of Jesus – the fulfillment of all things?
And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; for behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. For the Mighty One has done great things for me’ and holy is His name.Luke 1:46-49
For a child [has been] born to us, a son [has been] given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God; Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.Isaiah 9:6