PEACE. Joseph, fiancée of Mary, comes to peace with her seeming infidelity before marriage, as she is discovered to be pregnant. His dreams are dashed and he prays about the way forward as he grapples with the “hand life has dealt him.” He finds peace when an angel comes and reveals to him that God is in the events and walking with him. But he is not the only person who has to find peace in the Christmas story. Elizabeth of Zechariah and Mary of Joseph must find peace in their pregnancies.
In the gospel of Luke we have two women struggling to find peace. Elizabeth, the barren, elderly wife of Zechariah does become pregnant when he returns home after his temple experience. An old barren woman pregnant! That certainly raised eyebrows and questions but her husband is mute and cannot explain very well. She handles her situation by secluding herself for five months. Keeping our secrets, secret is one way to deal with confusion. On the other end of the age spectrum, Mary, the young girl pledged to be married, is now pregnant under questionable circumstances. Who would believe her story? Mary decides to visit Elizabeth who is now six months pregnant and the two women comfort each other.
Elizabeth affirms Mary’s experience and pregnancy. Mary bursts into song in what we call The Magnificat. Mary praises God. Elizabeth does have baby John who becomes known as John the Baptists and at the circumcision, Zechariah begins to speak again and he too sings a song, praises God.
Music is one way to find peace in the midst of confusing times. Do you notice how our radios have turned to “old familiar carols” and somehow the tension of elections and pandemic seem more tolerable and more hopeful? During times of grief and rejection, turning to music comforts our souls and helps us work out our doubts. “If I Had a Hammer” rang out from my youth as we dealt with Vietnam. “We Shall Overcome” rang out in Civil Rights days and was a beacon of hope. I found it quite poetic that the president danced to “I Did It My Way” at the ball. The poetry of music helps us to pull together the frazzled strands of our lives and find resolution. At Christmas our music repeats the narrative we love, “Away in a Manger”, sings of God choosing poor people to bless our world. “This is My Christmas Prayer,” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCjevnXWGgI, is one version of a modern artist vocalizing the anguish of his heart about our world. There are so many others praising God and praying for the “peace that passes understanding.”
As we approach Christmas today and seek to find Peace with the unexpected, the unwanted, or perhaps the unplanned for events of our lives, may we hear a song that helps us praise the God who came at Christmas time in the midst of a world in chaos, who comes today in a world of challenges and who promises to return and restore. Blessings as you listen to music today. May it soothe your soul and bring you peace.