Saturday, March 3, 2018


This is a true story with a few personal bits added from my imagination.  It fits chronologically right between the Hebrew Bible and what would eventually be the New Testament.  Theologically, it is way important. Elizabeth's son John prepares the way for Jesus who would become the Savior of the world.  But each step along the way is fascinating, including Elizabeth's husband having that scary encounter with an angel and coming out literally speechless.  Hers wasn't a virgin birth but it sure must have seemed like it might have to be in her husband's mind!  Here is my version of Elizabeth's story. 


Childless--I stopped hoping for relief from my shame.
Childless—an insult in my world, never a choice. 
Childless—a disappointment, a cause of discontent.
My husband Zach was a priest and it became his time
to serve in the temple; he was gone for several days. 
When he returned, something was terribly amiss.
Speechless, all he could do was wave his arms around
and show me Scripture I was supposed to understand.
He looked frantic and yet tender at the same time.
Life went on as it always had for a while.
Then I began to notice confusing changes in my body.
Three months later, I could not deny that although
past childbearing age, I—Elizabeth—was pregnant.

When I tried to explain the unexplainable to my mute
husband, he smiled as if he were somehow not surprised
that we, at our age, were about to become parents!
In my sixth month, we had a family visitor.
Young Mary arrived and told us her fantastic story.
When she spoke, the child in my belly leaped as if for joy. 
She, too, was pregnant and like Zach, had seen an angel. 
Because of what I had experienced, when she told me
that she was still a virgin, somehow I believed her.
Two women, one old and one young--each pregnant
after a visitation by an angel.

Mary went home to her parents and to Joseph,
and soon our son was born. John the firebrand 
(otherwise known as the Baptizer) moved out 
to the desert and called people to clean up their act. 
John said his coming was meant to prepare the way
for God. His truth telling ended in his death.  
Her gentle son, Jesus, well for a while it appeared
that all was lost.  The thieves, pimps and prostitutes
liked him better than the religious folks, and it was the
religious ones who eventually killed him.  But because
Mary and I both knew the rest of the story, 
we were not surprised when Jesus was seen 
back on the streets, alive. The news spread like wildfire!
Good news has a way of doing that. 

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