Maternity Coverage on Medicare – Luke 1 Continued…

by DanWolgemuth on December 8, 2023

Shortly after Luke commits to writing an accurate and orderly account of the life of Jesus, he introduces us to Zachariah, and then to his wife Elizabeth. The carefully chosen words of description about this couple would be a sacred endorsement to anyone.

“And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord.” (Luke 1:6, ESV)

Yes, please. I’d love for inspired words like these to be spoken over me… and yet, there is more. The verse that follows this glowing compliment, bleeds with disappointment, pain and grief.

“But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.” (Luke 1:7, ESV)

Godly and good… but. Yes, but.

The three-letter word that slams on the brakes to a life at full speed.


Old. Childless. Shamed. Disappointed. Grief burdened.


No child. No offspring to convey a legacy.


It is on this three-letter word that all of our lives pivot. But…

It’s a fill in the blank question. But, what.

All of us have words of pain that follow our glowing resume. No reputation is unstained. No pathway is pristine. Jesus put it this way, “In the world you will have tribulation…”

Not if. Not maybe… you will have tribulation. All of us.

Zachariah, after decades of lifting and carrying the burden of childlessness, enters the temple. On assignment. With a mission. Until the most painful chapter of his life is interrupted with hope. With a promise.

Zachariah and Elizabeth are Medicare age. They’re wondering how much their prescription copays will be, and Gabriel invites them to a baby shower. Theirs.

Zachariah, a priest, confronts this epic news with doubt. He seasons the jubilant announcement with skepticism. Hidden in this response to the prophetic word is the fact that he’s forgotten that God is in the business of turning empty wombs into a family reunion. As a priest, he should remember well the words from Genesis 15 directed to another childless husband… in this case, Abram.

And he (God) brought him (Abram) outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness. (Genesis 15:5–6, ESV)

God has proven Himself faithful. God has made good on family promises. Only He could turn a retirement center into a maternity ward. And Zachariah should have known. He should have remembered. He should have followed Abram’s lead.

And so should we.

Whatever heartbreaking words follow the “but” in your life, know for sure that God has not abandoned you. Even after decades. Even after rivers of tears. Even after countless prayers.

History proves, what our minds can’t comprehend. God is faithful. Always. True to His word. Making good on every promise.

Luke 1.

Linger. Remember. Learn.

Before swaddling clothes, Zachariah.

Our journey continues. Bethlehem awaits. But first… Luke 1.


More Than An Onramp

by DanWolgemuth on December 1, 2023

It seemed providential. Right as we enter the 2023 Advent season, I’m landing in the book of Luke in my regular Bible readings. On closer inspection, page 857 in my ESV Bible shows as much wear as any page in my Bible. That’s Luke 2. A chapter that carries the heading… The Birth of Jesus Christ.

It’s a chapter that tugs me back to the days when Mary and I lived in Fort Wayne as young parents. In anticipation of Christmas we worked with Andrew and Erik to memorize a section of Luke 2… “And so it was that the days were completed for her to be delivered…”.

Yes, a treasure to be sure.

But this year, as I began my journey through the book of Luke, I got stuck. A righteous roadblock has prevented me from making a hasty exit out of chapter 1. I’m afraid that in the past I’ve been guilty of making Luke 1 the onramp to the Christmas Story Super Highway.

What a gross disservice. And frankly, an affront to the vastness, significance and glory of this Christmas story. And perhaps, one of the most significant theological oversights I could make.

It is Luke 1 that pours the footers for the foundation of truth. It is Luke 1 that builds an indestructible bridge between the Old Testament and the New. It is Luke 1 that escorts Jesus into the world with both the improbable and impossible as companions. It is Luke 1 that reminds us that when God calls us, He surrounds us. And when He surrounds us, He walks with us. And when He walks with us, our hearts explode in praise.

Prophecy becomes reality.

Today, with some of the most sophisticated technology possible, we can’t predict the weather accurately for more than a few days. Yet, prophets like Malachi and Isaiah flawlessly highlight the coming of the Messiah. A Messiah who wouldn’t appear for hundreds of years. A waymaker in front of Jesus who would make the path straight. A teenaged virgin who would carry the hope of the world along with the shame of presumption.

Before Luke 2. Luke 1.

Before the dogeared pages, a spotlight into history.

Before the claims of Jesus, the credibility of the prophets.

Before the choirs of angels, a solitary man in the temple having a conversation with Gabriel.

Before the wisemen worshiped, a teenaged girl bowed her heart.

Before Mary, Elizabeth.

Before a teen pregnancy, an old womb with new life.


On the heart of God, in the pen of the prophets, then in a manger in Bethlehem.

Credibility in the obscurity, because of prophecy.

Luke 1.

To read Luke 2 without Luke 1 is building a house on the sand, and we know how that goes.

This year. Christmas 2023… I’m pitching a tent in Luke 1. 80 verses waiting to be explored. 80 verses inviting inspection. 80 verses that build the muscle tone for the intense exercise that follows.

Indeed, “My soul magnifies the Lord…”

Before Luke 2… a cosmic explosion called Luke 1.

Unpack your tent with me. Luke 1 awaits.  


Seeds and a Scoop

November 17, 2023

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” (Matthew 6:26, ESV) Retirement from full-time employment has afforded me the opportunity to engage in a few routine activities around the house. This includes the care and feeding of our winged neighbors […]

Read the full article →


November 12, 2023

Over the six years of Juni’s life (our 10th grandchild), we’ve received many tender and wonderful pictures of her. But the image I received this week moved me in a very different way. Perhaps, if you’re like me, you’re struggling a bit to decode the letter that Juni hand scribed. Let me help… Dear Veteran […]

Read the full article →

The Reflection Continues… Two Things

November 3, 2023

A week ago I wrote about a visit I had with my brother Sam who lives outside of Baltimore. The aging battle has been cruel to Sam’s mind, but at the same time, liberating to his heart and soul. After I hit send last week on my Fragment, my mind and soul have remained in […]

Read the full article →

The Shout of Joy

October 27, 2023

It had been over two years since I had seen my brother, Sam, and his wife Mary Gayle face to face. We had stopped by their lovely home in Laurel, Maryland in September of 2021 and spent an overnight with them. During that time together, while enjoying long and lingering conversations, Sam let us know […]

Read the full article →

Into the Deep

October 13, 2023

And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” (Luke 5:4) A night of frustration, followed by advice from an outsider. Simon. A professional fisherman. A tradesman who knew his trade. A provider who knew what was at stake. Simon’s response […]

Read the full article →

Fill in the Blank

October 6, 2023

Yesterday I was playing a little basketball with a couple of my grandkids. Yes, a favorite for me! Because the game occurred spontaneously, I was not wearing the appropriate footwear. My sandals provided little protection when a renegade foot slammed on top of it. I winced. Danced, and limped away. Today, I got my toes […]

Read the full article →

An Edit for the Ages

September 29, 2023

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The Declaration of Independence. Words that have reverberated through history. Words that informed and guided. Yet, the opening words of […]

Read the full article →

How dark is dark?

September 22, 2023

Perhaps, like me, you’ve noticed how much “space” is being given in Christian dialogue around the darkness of our culture. In print. In social media. On podcasts. Many of us have become experts in describing just how dark the darkness is. It was two years ago that Mary and I toured the Quincy Mine in […]

Read the full article →