holy laughter –

Their laughter is not self-conscious. Their laughter is not artificial or forced. Their laughter is full and real. Their laughter comes from someplace deep inside. Their laughter flows as laughter does in our moments of real happiness, or those moments when we discover the wonderful incongruities of life, or when we find that the impossible has become possible.

Nativity

The laughter of Elizabeth and Mary is first of all their delight simply at seeing one another. Mary has come to visit her relative Elizabeth. Mary is the younger one – Elizabeth like an Aunt to her. It has probably been some time since they saw each other – too long – and now when they embrace they laugh with joy at the pleasure of being together. Of course we know, especially at this season perhaps, that it’s not always a joy to see relative. “Do we really have to visit them again this year?” But there are also always relatives and friends who we can’t wait to see, who we want to spend time with. And with them there is joy and laughter in catching up after a too-long absence.

Perhaps Elizabeth and Mary don’t laugh only on account of their joyful reunion. Perhaps they laugh also in their shared pregnancy. As they approach one another, their pregnancies become obvious to each other – and they are glad and cheerful at their shared expectation of a child. Elizabeth had thought she was too old to have a child, but here it is a reality. And Mary’s pregnancy is beyond her comprehension, but there is her belling getting larger by the day. The laugh together at the impossible possibility of these pregnancies. Continue reading

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Dare we sing the Magnificat?

My sermon from this past Sunday – the fourth Sunday in Advent.

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Exuberant.     It’s a wonderful word, isn’t it?    Exuberant.

It’s one of those words that carry their meaning so well. Even to say the word ‘exuberant’ is almost to be lifted into exuberance. The Mirriam Webster dictionary offers the following definition of the word: joyfully unrestrained and enthusiastic. Exuberant: joyfully unrestrained and enthusiastic.

The thesaurus in my word processor gives these possible synonyms for the word exuberant: enthusiastic, excited, high-spirited, lively.

We read in Luke’s gospel, the words of Mary:

My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has looked with favour on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name.

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