Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Photo credit: Lara Stoudt

Fourth Week of Advent, Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Luke 1:5-25
During the time Herod ruled Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah who belonged to Abijah’s group. Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, came from the family of Aaron. Zechariah and Elizabeth truly did what God said was good. They did everything the Lord commanded and were without fault in keeping his law. But they had no children, because Elizabeth could not have a baby, and both of them were very old.

One day Zechariah was serving as a priest before God, because his group was on duty. According to the custom of the priests, he was chosen by lot to go into the Temple of the Lord and burn incense. There were a great many people outside praying at the time the incense was offered. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Zechariah, standing on the right side of the incense table. When he saw the angel, Zechariah was startled and frightened. But the angel said to him, “Zechariah, don’t be afraid. God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give birth to a son, and you will name him John. He will bring you joy and gladness, and many people will be happy because of his birth. John will be a great man for the Lord. He will never drink wine or beer, and even from birth, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will help many people of Israel return to the Lord their God. He will go before the Lord in spirit and power like Elijah. He will make peace between parents and their children and will bring those who are not obeying God back to the right way of thinking, to make a people ready for the coming of the Lord.”

Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I know that what you say is true? I am an old man, and my wife is old, too.”

The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand before God, who sent me to talk to you and to tell you this good news. Now, listen! You will not be able to speak until the day these things happen, because you did not believe what I told you. But they will really happen.”

Outside, the people were still waiting for Zechariah and were surprised that he was staying so long in the Temple. When Zechariah came outside, he could not speak to them, and they knew he had seen a vision in the Temple. He could only make signs to them and remained unable to speak. When his time of service at the Temple was finished, he went home.

Later, Zechariah’s wife, Elizabeth, became pregnant and did not go out of her house for five months. Elizabeth said, “Look what the Lord has done for me! My people were ashamed of me, but now the Lord has taken away that shame.” 
(New Century Version (NCV))

Loving Divine Family,

Your messages of love and peace are so wonderful to us. You are so wonderful that we find ourselves filled with fear and awe, astonished and overwhelmed in your presence. Yet you comfort and encourage us with your still calm voice telling us to not be afraid, but to hear your message of love for us.  

Oh God of Love, thank you for hearing our prayers and answering our prayers “in the fullness of time… something for all flesh, something that binds all time together.” (Walter Wangerin Jr., Preparing for Jesus, p.38) Just like Elizabeth’s prayers were not just hers but yours and hers for all of creation, our prayers are not just our own but yours and ours together. May we see from your perspective and not from our own. May we be at peace knowing your time is perfect. 

I hear your calm voice bringing joy to my heart today, LORD, and thank you for… 

We are overwhelmed with joy as we celebrate  your miracles and blessings in our lives. We burst forth like Elizabeth proclaiming, “Look what the LORD has done for us! We were ashamed, but now the LORD has taken that shame away!” Praise to you, LORD, for you have done great things for us and holy is your name!       

With joy we praise you!

Amen!

Cherie and Donovan Mutschler

Other Lectionary Readings for Today:
Psalm 113:1-9
Isaiah 42:14-21

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