The beginning of the Gospel of Luke centers around two women. One, Mary is young and finds herself pregnant with Jesus. The other is Elizabeth. Elizabeth is barren, but finds herself pregnant with John the Baptist.
In biblical times being barren was a great hardship. Sarah, Hannah, and a host of other women struggle with infertility. These women were non-persons in a society and they suffered deeply for it.
Women still suffer from infertility. The promise of expensive fertility treatment does not always succeed. Mothers suffer, too. Those with prodigal children, with handicapped children, who bear children who die, during pregnancy or during life, bear deep sorrows.
Luke, and other bible writers, identify God as the solution to this. But the miraculous births in scripture might have a bitter taste those dealing with these sorrows. The scandal of a God who lets children die befuddles many a theologian. Christmas is bitter to those dealing with such deep loss.
But through this darkness some have found a relationship with God in the darkness. Some have found a God who walks with them through their bitterness and sorrow. Let us remember and have compassion on those who suffer at Christmas – for whatever reason. Let us reach out a hand, not to explain – we can’t – but to journey through the dark with them. At Christmas and always.
Rev. Julie Holm pastors the Brush Valley Fusion of Faith in Rebersburg and Madisonburg, PA: St. Peter’s United Church of Christ, St. Peter’s Lutheran (ELCA) and Christ United Church of Christ. She also edited this booklet.
©2016 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group. This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.