Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Please read Luke 1:46-55

While Lizzie started making dinner, she slipped out the back door and wandered down to the frozen pond. Sitting down on the rough-hewn bench that Zeke had made a few summers before, she stared across the ice towards the hillside, where the shepherds were huddled for warmth around a fire, while the sheep shuffled, trying to get comfortable in the chill air.

'What a strange few weeks,' she muttered to herself. She thought back to her conversation with the stranger at the bus stop while she waited to go home after doing her homework at the library. She kept trying to inch away from him, until there was no more inching she could do, stunned at his repeated insistence that she was going to have a child (hey, she had thought to herself, I'm a good girl!) and the child would be a gift from God. Actually, he had said the baby would be God. What can one say to that!?! 'Sure, whatever you say, mister' was all she could come up with.

Snapping out of her reverie, she began to rummage around in her backpack, pulling out her skates. As she wiped the blades clean, she relived the chat she had just had with her auntie. How in the world did Lizzie figure out she was pregnant - she had just found out the other day! And, wonder of wonders, Lizzie was going to have a kid, too; at her age! She must be near 40. And she thinks I am blessed?

She slipped off her right shoe, put on the skate, and began to tighten the laces, so she would have the support her ankle needed. She giggled to herself, as she remembered how she and Sarah had talked late one night, after Shabbos dinner. Like all kids, they wondered what the Anointed One would be like when he came. 'When Messiah comes,' Sarah had whispered, 'I hope he comes as a baker, with wonderful goodies and lots of hot bread for everyone. I am so tired of being hungry all the time.'

Finished with that skate, she quickly put on her left one, as she remembered what her boyfriend, Joseph, had mentioned to her, while they walked home from the synagogue one day. 'The rabbi uses such big words, I can't always understand him. I'm a simple man,' he said, looking her in the eyes he could not pull himself away from. 'I want someone who can tell me in plain terms about Adonai, who can put his thoughts into words a carpenter like me can hear and walk away saying, 'now I see'."

Stretching her neck and shoulder muscles, loosening up her arms and legs, she stared off into the blue-black sky, freckled with stars which glimmered in the crisp night. 'I just want mercy - sweet, tender mercy when Messiah comes. Compassion for all the children whose parents have no time for them; help for those who long to shelter and feed their families, but who have no money; hope for those who clasp those promises made so long ago to Sarah and Abraham, and wait so patiently for them to come true."

Stepping out onto the ice, she slowly began to do her warm-ups, circles and figure-eights, beginning to hum a little tune which she did not recognize, but had just popped into her head. As she picked up speed on the ice, she started to murmur words which tumbled out of her heart, in rhythm to the tune, 'my soul magnifies . . .'

(c) 2008 Thom M. Shuman

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