WEEK 3: GIVE THANKS FOR LIFE / DAY 16: BELIEF
By Pastor Courtney Hall (Mon. Dec. 13, 2021)
Nearly 25 years ago (at the time I write this), an animated film premiered on the life of Moses, called The Prince of Egypt. The film’s central musical moment comes in a song entitled “When You Believe,” which carries these lyrics: “Who knows what miracles you can achieve, when you believe? / You will when you BELIEVE.” The song’s full lyrics and context in the Exodus story make clear the point is not simply to believe in yourself and what you can achieve on your own, but rather to believe in the Lord and that your prayers to Him matter and are heard. Believe, in short, that God cares and can do miracles to deliver His people out of all oppression and into all of His promises.
The Exodus of the Israelites out of Egypt is a tale of LIFE, light, and love in the Lord in the midst of a time of death, darkness, and despair. It anticipates the story of Christmas in these ways. The women from the Exodus who sing “When You Believe” in The Prince of Egypt could just as easily be Mary and Elizabeth singing with joy and GIVING THANKS FOR THE LIFE and HOPE which God has brought to them as He answers prayer and fulfills prophecy. When the Virgin Mary, supernaturally pregnant with the Son of God, came to visit her elderly cousin Elizabeth, miraculously pregnant herself with John the Baptist, a song of BELIEF also marked their meeting. Elizabeth, hearing Mary’s voice, divinely proclaimed how the baby within her leapt “with JOY” (Luke 1:39) in yet another Biblical affirmation that there is LIFE IN THE WOMB.
The Advent candle lit this third week symbolizes JOY in the Lord. Elizabeth and Mary both experienced the all-surpassing joy that comes to those who BELIEVE that there will be fulfillment of every word which God has spoken (cf. Luke 1:45). Believing the Word of the Lord brings assurance, confirmation, and the JOY of knowing that “there can be MIRACLES when you BELIEVE” in Him and in all He has said.
SCRIPTURE READING: Luke 1:39-45
"Now at this time Mary arose and went in a hurry to the hill country, to a city of Judah, and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. And she cried out with a loud voice and said, 'Blessed [are] you among women, and blessed [is] the fruit of your womb! And how has it [happened] to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed [is] she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.'"