Today we meet with Elizabeth, who has spent too long saying ‘if only’, and wishing for a child. She is disappointed that everyone assumed that it was her fault that there were no children (I have friends who have experienced this false assumption!), with the baby causing an emptiness between them, and a feeling of emptiness in her own life. For those who desire children, this is a sad state to be in, and there must be ways to find a better resolution – shame she didn’t have Sheridan Voysey’s book Broken Dreams to read.
Having sought to be supportive of friends who have got pregnant, she is overjoyed (but confused at the timing) once she is pregnant. Her husband, Zechariah, she describes as unsurprisingly full of doubt and fear (as age/disappointment have made them cynical), and therefore didn’t believe the angelic messenger – and so was struck dumb until the birth of John – who would come to share the good news of Jesus.
As her cousin Mary visits, she sees the life, joy and vitality in the young women. As the children in their wombs jump towards each other, Elizabeth feels that she has been reborn, losing all the bitterness of past years. She sees that her child will point the way to Mary’s child.
Brian reflected today on the juxtaposition he felt yesterday in watching the school nativity play, after the news of the Pakistan school shootings – this sentence stood out:
“This is a universe at war,” wrote CS Lewis, once upon a time. And Christmas was a key battle in it – not some soft-focused winter pick-me-up, but a cosmic fight-back. As John Eldredge reminds us, “The coming of Jesus was a dangerous mission, a great invasion a daring raid into enemy territory.” He would get himself killed, lest we forget.
I also really appreciated being given a free download of this book by Phil.
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.