Advent Readings Day 14

Reading: Luke 1:57-66

Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, ‘His name is John.’ Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God.“ Luke 1:62-64

Have you ever taken the time to ruminate on the background activity that God is doing?  I think of it when I read the story of John The Baptist.  God could have set the stage totally different and had Jesus come flying from heaven in a chariot of fire(the way Elijah had left) and made a fiery entrance complete with lightning and cosmic fireworks.  Yet, instead, God’s Plan was to do a bunch of side work, subtly setting the stage for the arrival of The Messiah.

In John’s case this meant great interventions by God.  God sent Gabriel to appear to Zechariah.  Zechariah is struck dumb for 9 months.  Elizabeth is barren and old, yet now she is going to have a baby.  Crazy events that God used to set the stage so that the stage could be set for Jesus’ arrival.

It gets crazier though.  After Zechariah has not been able to speak for 9 months it is time to name John and tradition is about to be followed to name John after his father.  But in the midst of a discussion, Zechariah’s voice is restored and his first words after 9 months of silence is “His name is John.”  A sign.  A miracle.  The unexpected.

God has worked through this situation which seems like a subplot in some ways in order to see people filled with awe and to get everyone talking.  People saw that God was with this family and on this boy and they wondered what God was going to do through him.  God has set the stage in a very ordinary way through extraordinary events for His coming.

As we are surrounded by the glitz and glamour of Christmas, it is easy to lose sight of the ordinariness of life.  Most of life is lived in the ordinary, yet into it the Extraordinary God steps in and keeps His plan moving forward.  It would be easy for us to read over the story of John and God’s intervention.  It is also easy for us to miss our own story and God’s intervention in it.

John’s story reminds us that God is at work.  He was at work in the lives of Zechariah’s family long before that extraordinary day when the angel appeared and he was silenced.  He was preparing and watching to see if they would partner with Him.  Then, bang – unexpected and seemingly out of the blue – God acted and chose them to play a critical role in Jesus’ coming.

As we refocus towards Jesus’ coming, let us remember that He is with us in the ordinary.  He is setting the stage.  He is preparing us and watching to see if we will partner with Him.  And then, in His timing and as He sees fit, He invites us to participate with Him in seeing His name known throughout the earth.  May we bring Him glory and point the way to Jesus.

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