Today is Monday the 23rd of December, in the fourth week of Advent.

The monks of the Abbey of Keur Moussa sing Psalm 91: ‘It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to make music to your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning, and your truth in the watches of the night.’ As I listen, can I bring myself before the God they speak of, the God present here with me, the source of all life, all love, all truth?

Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Luke.

Elizabeth, we are told, had been hoping for a child for years, perhaps decades, before her son was born. It would have been easier, surely, to give up hope and to settle for what she had. What unrealised hopes do you have, for yourself, or your family, or your work, or your church?

What helps you to keep those hopes alive, what supports you in not giving up on them?

And what’s it like, in your own experience, when a long-held hope is at last realised, as Elizabeth’s is here?

Listen, as you hear the passage again, for all the different reactions to John’s birth. How do Elizabeth, Zechariah, the bystanders, and their neighbours, react?

Speak to God for a moment or two of your own hopes. And listen for anything he might want to say to you about them.