Christmas Monday, December 26, 2016
We are familiar with the conversation between Abram and “I AM” in which God promises not only a kingship and land but a son and as many descendants as there are stars in the sky. Do not fear, Abram, I am a shield to you; your reward shall be very great (Genesis 15:1) God’s fidelity is echoed in Abram’s.
Later in this story, Hagar bears Abraham a son and her attitude toward Abraham’s wife Sarah changes. When Hagar and her child Ishmael are sent away to wander in the desert, the same God who promises so much sends a messenger to bring them tidings of peace. The angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter with you, Hagar? Do not fear, for God has heard the voice of the lad where he is. (Genesis 21:17) Ishmael’s cry is heard by God.
Millennia later God perseveres in watching over the marginalized and invites shepherds as the first witnesses to the arrival of the Messiah in the world. Today we reflect on the gift of fidelity that Abraham, Sarah, Hagar and Ismael teach us. We reflect on the humility and joy of the shepherds who visit the child Jesus. And we reflect on the permanence of God’s love.
Jesus persists in serving as our shield. Today let us consider the fidelity we echo back to God.
To learn more about why and when Abram and Sarai’s names become Abraham and Sarah, visit: http://bibleblender.com/2011/bible-stories/old-testament/genesis/abraham-gets-a-new-name
Throughout Christmastide, we continue to explore the number of ways the Creator tells us that we need not be afraid.