BIBLE STORY OF THE WEEK: Luke 1:39-45, 57-66 NRSV
In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leaped for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”
57 Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.
59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. 60 Buthis mother said, “No; he is to be called John.” 61 They said to her, “None of your relatives has this name.” 62 Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. 63 He asked for a writing tablet and wrote,“His name is John.” And all of them were amazed. 64 Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 Fear came over all their neighbors, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. 66 All who heard them pondered them and said, “What then will this child become?” For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.
PRAYERS & QUESTIONS:
Sunday: Luke 1:39-40
Dear God, please bless me when I travel. Bless all those who are on theroad, or rail, or in the air today, that they may arrive at their destinations safely. Amen.
Tell a story about a time when you went on a trip. How did you travel? What was the journey like? Who did you visit and why?
Monday: Luke 1:41-42
Dear God, watch over all of those who arepregnant today. Keep them and their children safe, and make it a joyful time of wonder. Amen.
Have you ever gotten to feel a baby move in someone’s stomach? What did it feel like? What do you think it means that John recognized Mary, even in the womb?
Tuesday: Luke 1:43-45
Dear God, as I prepare to be a guest and a host this season, help me to remember to take the time to prepare for your coming. Take the “bah!” out of my “humbug.” Amen.
When is a time when you were received as a guest? What made it comfortable to be a guest? Uncomfortable? In what ways can you work on being hospitable like Elizabeth?
Wednesday: Luke 1:57-58
Dear Jesus, have care for all who are giving birth today. Help me to rejoice at the gifts of life that you constantly give through your great mercy. Amen.
What do you think it would have been like to have been present at the birth of John? Do you know the story of your birth? What are your favorite stories about children being born?
Thursday: Luke 1:59-61
Dear God, I thank you for my name. Help me to remember that names are powerful, and to use them kindly with those I meet. Amen.
What is the significance of your name? Find out what it means, or why you were named what you were named. Why do you think it makes a difference that God chose John’s name?
Friday: Luke 1:62-64
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise. Help me to always use my speech in a meaningful and holy way. Amen.
What do you think it would be like to finally be able to speak after a long time of silence? Why do you think the first words out of Zechariah’s mouth were praise of God? How do you use your speech to praise God?
Saturday: Luke 1:65-66
Dear God, I ask for your blessing on my life today. Empower me to be a blessing to those you place in my path today. Amen.
What do you think it means that the hand of the Lord was with baby John? Do you think that the “hand of the Lord” has ever been with you? Could this phrase be tied to the presence of God’s blessing?