Before Jesus’ birth, the angels appeared to some shepherds on the hillside outside Bethlehem. They came announcing good news of peace and renewal – tidings of comfort and joy.
We asked 25 people to prepare a meditation for us to read and listen to every day through Advent. We are delighted to share their work with you.
God bless you as you read, listen and pray.
Luke 1: 8 – 17
8 Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
So many thoughts from this reading!
Firstly – what an amazing story – an elderly couple, faithful, praying people but God could still use them for something remarkable! That’s so encouraging as we grow older………
So what does Zechariah teach us?
- To be faithful and persistent in prayer
- To listen for God’s voice
- To be obedient to what God is telling us to do
- To trust God – to have that certainty that He is with us in our struggle to be faithful
Then, we learn so much about God :
He is a God of surprises – could Zechariah have ever imagined it would be possible for him and Elizabeth to have a child at this stage in their lives?
He is a God who answers prayer – often not in the way we expect, and certainly not when we expect it
He is a God of reassurance – ‘don’t be afraid’. That’s the way angels always seem to greet you in the Bible. He wants us to listen without fear.
He is a God whose timing is perfect, but it’s not our timing necessarily
He is a God of miracles, giving Zechariah and Elizabeth the one gift they had always wanted but which would seem impossible in human terms.
He is a God in control. The longed-for baby was destined for very special things, to be a blessing, not just to his parents, but to the nation.
He is a God who keeps his promises and gives us so much more than we could ask for.
One thing to take away for today:
- We must maintain hope, knowing that God will do what he promises, in his own way and in his own time. We just have to be available.