Making Ready a People

An Advent Devotion for December 13, 2017   

  Read Luke 1:5 – 17

“Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John . . . He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God . . . to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

There is a contemporary saying which goes, “Angels can fly because they take themselves so lightly.” Angels are God’s messengers on earth who bring us good news. They look at our fear and tell us not to be afraid of the things we fear – the unknown which is unpredictable and uncertain. Zechariah has been chosen to enter the holiest part of the temple. It is a once in a life time opportunity. I would guess that as he prepared himself for that moment, he carried his prayer with him. The one that has been in his heart which he had long since given up on. What words did he actually say? Did the angel’s appearance stop him from saying what was in his heart? The angle came to Zechariah with a message of divine love and hope. The long sought child would come. He would have a special task in life, to prepare a people fit for the Lord. When he left the Holy place, Zechariah carried a new message in his heart. He had discovered grace and compassion. Silence would follow him. He would have months to ponder the angels message,

The word angel, simply means messenger. A person who brings a word from God to us. If we look into our lives we can name some of God’s angels who have visited us. They have arrived with kindness, a shoulder to lean on, help when we most needed it. They have brought us comfort and assurance. Sometimes they have challenged us to do more with our lives that we had been intending. Go back to school. Learn a new trade. Risk love again. Follow the dream God has set in your heart.

Most often our angels come in human form. They arrive in boats when trapped in flood waters. They dig into the earth and carry rubble to rescue all they can when the earth shakes and buildings collapse. They knock on our door with meals. They visit us in hospitals with prayer shawls. The speak through the words of people who care. They calm our fears. They bring us good news. When we are afraid, they remind us that the God of the universe is holding us. In Advent, angels seem to be everywhere. Zechariah, Mary, shepherds and in a dream Joseph will see angels.

Prayer: Holy One, Open our eyes to see and our ears to hear your angels this Advent, lest we miss the message of hope you would bring us. Amen.

Additional Advent & Christmastide Devotions can be found by clicking here:   Advent & Christmastide Devotions

Reflecting God’s Light

An Advent Devotion for December 6, 2017                                     Read Luke 1:57, 67-79

“By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:78-79

As a young woman, there was a time when I desperately clung to a thread of hope. When I think back on those days, I’m reminded how people simply cared for me. Near strangers reached out to me. They showed me Christ like love and compassion. The world needs people to care, to show the way through the darkness . . . people who will reflect Christ’s light. People who through actions and words give the gift of hope, expressing love to troubled souls.

Most of us will never be in a position to negotiate a peace deal with Iran, North Korea or Afghanistan or resolve the nations health care crisis. But, each of us can be an instrument of love and hope in another person’s life. We can be a person who lets another know that we care. We can be part of the light splintering the darkness for another person. We can be one who gives the gift of hope.

Zechariah was visited by an angel who told him not only that his wife would have a son, but that his son would prepare the way for the coming messiah. At John’s birth words long held back, spilled out of Zechariah’s mouth as he prophesied. “By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Advent is a good season to spread the light of Christ where we live and work, in our homes and in our neighborhoods. For there is one who has shown us the way through the darkness and who guides our feet into the way of peace.

In the week ahead:
Put a candle in your window to remind the world of the way home.
Send a note of love and care.
Give a gift card to a person who is struggling economically.
Call or visit someone you know is discouraged.
Drop some dollars in a Salvation army kettle or volunteer to be a bell ringer.
Give a hug.
Be a friend.   Advocate on behalf of one who needs a voice.
Send some flowers.
Find a way to reflect light to the world.

Prayer: God of Advent, In our Advent waiting, show us who needs us to reach out in love and compassion this season. Show us ways to care, to share what we are able to share. May we be your instruments of love and grace. In our Advent waiting may we reflect your light to the world. Amen.

Additional Advent & Christmastide Devotions can be found at:   Advent & Christmastide Devotions