We’re four days into Advent already and, incidentally, I’m in my fourth year of re-reading the dug-out treasures of that Luke 1 starting point that eventually became 25 Days of Advent: A Daily Re-Telling of the Greatest Story of all time. This morning, I crept downstairs while it was still dark, the lingering snow from our Thanksgiving storm making me think I was colder than I was. I plugged in the tree, turned on the garland hung on the mantle, ground the coffee, and sat down to start my quiet time as the machine began the early sounds of brewing.
I had been bouncing around a few different reading places the last few mornings. A little bit of Ephesians here, praying through a parenting book there and keeping track of the beginning of Luke Advent storyline in the middle of it all. “Where do You want me to read this morning?” I thought to myself as I opened my Bible. My mind was still stuck with Zacharias and his temple-encounter with the Angel – you know, the part where Gabriel tells him that his long-awaited prayer for a child has finally been answered. It’s the section of Scripture that kicks off my Advent devotional, right there on December 1st. And it’s the same part of the story that I now read every single year on the birthday of our first miracle babe.
It gets me every time.
As I opened my Bible, I found myself looking at the book of Zechariah. I had forgotten that there was a prophetic book of the same name as our Luke 1 priest. I turned a page or two back to the beginning of it and took a peek at the book’s introduction. “Zechariah means ‘Yahweh Remembers’ or ‘Yahweh Has Remembered,'” I read. And then, to drive the point home: “The Greek and Latin version of his name is Zacharias.”
The angel appeared to the man who’s name means “Yahweh Has Remembered” in Luke 1 right there by the altar and said something unexpected. He spoke a promise of answered prayer to a man who had long been waiting for a child (and possibly long since given up hope for one, maybe feeling all but forgotten). But before there was any indication that Elizabeth was pregnant. Before even the most discerning person could begin to guess that her body was showing signs of a miraculous change, God foretold it.
We all know the stories foretelling the birth of Christ. But we don’t often talk about the foretelling of the birth of a man who would prepare the way for Jesus. The same man who preached a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And that day, while the rest of the city was silent? God spoke through an angel to a man merely being obedient in his duty to serve and intercede.
Because sometimes, a long-awaited answer to prayer comes in the most unexpected moments. [Excerpt from Advent Day One: The Beginning of the Story.]
This Advent study has transformed the way I see these 25 days. I love it so much that I’m giving you the first ten days of devotionals as a FREE download. Simply fill out the form below and it will be delivered straight to your email, my gift to you.
Happy Advent, sweet friends.
(P.S. You can read my own unexpected answered-prayer story here!)