When the people of God were in trouble and God sent someone special to rescue them, it often began with a woman thought to be “barren” becoming pregnant. It is surely not just random that God works in this way, not just a coincidence that God’s appearance on the scene means that barrenness gives way to fruitfulness. In the vision of Isaiah, God will “grant to those who mourn in Zion – beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” (Isaiah 61:3) That is what is involved in the advent of God. Into situations of heartbreak, disappointment and fruitlessness comes the God who changes things.