By Henry Rouse
Our first child was born more than twenty years ago, but I still remember it like it was yesterday. Months of planning and preparation led up to the day of her birth, yet nothing quite prepared me for the actual moment. Every birth is different. As some have said, every birth is another miracle. As I held her in my arms, I dreamed and wondered about what she would do and who she would become. And on that day, in that small hospital room, filled with hope, I danced and cried for joy!
Centuries ago, two women received the miraculous news that they were pregnant. Miraculous for Elizabeth because she was too old and for Mary because she was a virgin. This news filled these expectant mothers with joy as well as hope and fear as the realization of who these children were became clear.
When Elizabeth met Mary and the child inside her “leaped for joy” (Luke 1:44), she was overjoyed that young Mary was to be the mother of her Lord. And Mary’s song of worship (vv.46–55) is much more than praise for the joy of pregnancy. These women recognized that the child Mary carried was no ordinary baby. So, Mary praised God for His greatness, His holiness, and His mercy. The birth of her child would be the fulfillment of God’s promises to Abraham. Through Him, Israel would once again experience the salvation and mercy of God. So much hope and reason to proclaim the greatness of the Lord and rejoice in God her Savior!
And when Elizabeth’s child was born, her husband Zechariah declared that this child would be the “prophet of the Most High” (v.76). His child would point the nation to their Savior. John would declare redemption, salvation, and forgiveness through the One who was to come (vv.68–79).
This Jesus, who was yet to be born, carried the hope of the world on His shoulders. He would be the One who would “shine on those who live in darkness…to guide our feet into the way of peace” (v.79).
As we look to Jesus Christ in this world where we still see such darkness, we can anticipate His light and praise Him for all He brings. We can gaze at the face of a newborn, filled with hope at all they may become, and be reminded to gaze at Jesus, the hope of the world. And as you gaze at Him, who knows, you, too, may dance and cry for joy.