Prepare the way, the wait is over!
Luke 1:13-17, 57-79
Last week we read what was predicted in Isaiah would be happening for God’s people. We saw God had a plan. A plan that would not come to pass for 700 years but now things are beginning to happen. The first thing to happen would involve God’s blessing on two people who had been faithful to the Lord but had not received the ultimate blessing that husbands and wives in good standing with God came to expect, a child. We read at long last God heard their prayers and was going to bless them with a son. He would be a special child with a special job given to him by God. By what is being told to his father, Zechariah, we can see how far God’s people had strayed. This special man would help many of God’s people return to the place they should be, including compelling the men to realize their role in the family God has placed them in. This special man of God would prepare the people for what the Lord was about to do. Zechariah was an important man among the Jewish people. He took seriously the role he played as a priest. If we would have read the 6th verse, we would have seen both Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, had lived upright lives in the sight of God. It is even recorded they had observed all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.
Can you imagine what a compliment that was for both Zechariah and Elizabeth? How many people would say that about you and me? So, when Gabriel told Zechariah what his son would do for God, I can only imagine the joy and pride both he and Elizabeth ultimately felt. For years they probably wondered why God had not blessed them with a child. Probably even some of their friends and family privately thought maybe they were not exactly the people they appeared to be, but that was all about to change.
For those of us who have been blessed to have children, one of the most incredible times of our lives is when that child we so anxiously have waited for comes into our lives. At this time in history, it was an even bigger deal to not have children than it is in our world today, so when Gabriel told Zechariah this news, what a weight had been lifted off Zechariah and Elizabeth’s shoulders, especially when Gabriel told Zechariah just how important a role, his son John, would play in God’s kingdom. He was so overjoyed by the news they are going to have a son. I encourage you to read Luke 1:5-25, especially, to get the full understanding of everything Zechariah was being told. Did Zechariah instantly embrace everything he was being told? How do you think any one of us would have reacted? As much as I am sure Zechariah wanted to believe what he was being told, he had doubts. In verse 18 we see Zechariah was questioning what he was being told. How could it be? Because of his doubting, he would be unable to speak until after his son was born, which is where we picked up the story in verse 57. In verses 58 through 66 we see their friends and family there to share in this special moment. When they saw that suddenly Zechariah could speak again, they even asked themselves what is this child going to be? They all knew something special was about to happen. Then Zechariah said, what is called Zechariah’s song in my Bible, verses 68-79. Zechariah knew his son was not the Messiah, the Savior of the world, but he was going to have the job of preparing God’s people for what was about to happen.
All of us who have been, once again, blessed with children have hopes and dreams for our kids, don’t we? Our parents probably did for us as well. Sometimes those hopes and dreams come true; sometimes it does not work out quite like we had hoped. Regardless, I want to believe we have never stopped praying for our children, praying for the best. Zechariah knew God had a special plan for his son. I cannot help but think he was convinced he would play an important role for his entire life. A life he would want to believe would last a long, long time. As most of you probably know, it did not work out quite that way for John. Did John accomplish everything God had called him to do? Absolutely!
As we draw closer to Christmas, we will see how God continued to do things that most would have never expected, that we would believe never could happen. We are reminded in the prayer we had when we lit the advent candles—Help us to see what is important, to be who you want us to be, and to do what you would have us to do. Throughout all of history that is what God is asking of his people. Zechariah and Elizabeth answered that call, so did John. What is God asking us to do this Christmas season? Will we answer the call? Not only at Christmas but all throughout the year.
Every Tuesday 9:30 Bible Study. All are invited to attend.
December 9 7:00 p.m. Executive Committee only
Women: if you have a prayer partner, please have her Christmas gift on the decorated table in the church basement by this coming Sunday, December 13. After worship that day, you may pick up the gift that is for you. New prayer partners will be in your mailboxes on December 20. If you participated in 2020, Carol will assume you want to participate again, unless you let her know otherwise. If you have not participated before and would like to, let Carol know so you can be included.
Thank you to all who helped with the candy making fundraiser in any way!
Council Meeting is postponed until January.
Copies of The Upper Room and Daily Bread are available.
Please place your offering in the plates at the back of the sanctuary. Thank you for your continued giving!
Remember to check your mailboxes.
Thank you for wearing masks and helping contain the spread of the virus. Extra masks are at the back of the sanctuary if you don’t have one. Remember: the cloth masks are washable.
Donation Box: The Lord’s Storehouse
First Sundays: food donations for food banks
Pastor Larry Traxler- (217) 454-2362
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Keep in Your Prayers
Bud Blickenstaff; Carol Seidenstricker; Sonna Hall; Brittany Wright; Bertha Eveland; Betty Moore; Evelyn Eads; Mike Gentry; Anna Gentry Thompson; Marlene & Arnold Schultz; Clyde and Nancy Fansler; Adiline Young; Barb Baker; Kim Lehmann; Dylan Junior; Doug Fansler; Bailey & Liam Martina; Jeff Sawyer; Liza Yore; Candy Dobson; Anna Rose Larrick; Gary Jesse; Norm & Marge Starr; Shawn Cain; Robert Cripe; Mayo & Darlene Hanaver; Zola Copeland and family; Patty Cripe; Lauren Gross; Stacie Warren; Nancy Gorrell; many unspoken requests; Coronavirus crisis; healthcare workers and first responders; the families of the 280,000+ people who have died from COVID-19; those who are ill from the virus; the unemployed; school teachers, staff, and students; wildfire and hurricane victims; District of IL/WI; nursing home residents
Military and Other Services and their families
Brethren Volunteer Service workers; Disaster project workers
Our Mission Statement:
Love God, grow with others, serve faithfully, reach the lost, find peace.
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