"Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John." Lk 1:13
Barrenness is a particularly difficult burden to bear, and in the ancient world it was often seen as a punishment for sin. Both the wife of Zorah, the mother of Samson, and Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist were barren, and we can only imagine the pain they felt. No doubt both women were familiar with the words of Jeremiah who tells us that Rachel wept inconsolably because she was barren. For Jewish women not to have children meant they had no identity, no value, and no blessing from God. Zorah's wife isn't even named. How great then the joy of both women when, in their old age, God blesses them with children whose role in salvation history will forever help believers to appreciate the greatness of God who blesses us when we least expect it.
In these last days of Advent, the same is true of us. Our roles in the ongoing story of God's love for the world, while sometimes muddy and confusing, are radically important to God. God wants to speak through us, to announce good news, not only through the strengths and gifts we each have, but through our willingness to endure weakness and suffering for the sake of building God's reign.
Today, pray to be fruitful for God's sake.
What are the gifts God has given you for the sake of others?