Advent Devotional: Our Stories Matter

Zechariah had a hard time believing God’s promise about his son. In Luke 1:18-20 we are told that Zechariah is punished for his lack of faith and cursed with silence. As we rejoin the story of Zechariah in verse 57, the things Zechariah doubted have come to pass and there is no longer any room for doubt. As the time comes to gives Zechariah’s offspring a name, his submission to the naming of his child outside of the cultural expectations confirms his faith and Zechariah’s speech is returned.  When Zechariah’s first words are spoken it is obvious that the Holy Spirit is speaking through him and he begins to prophesy about the impending work of God the world.

While the story of Zechariah is amazing by itself, popular Bible scholar N.T. Wright* reminds us that this is a “reflection on a smaller scale of what was going on in the Israel of [Zechariah’s] day.” Indeed, up to this point there had been a prophetic silence in Israel for hundreds of years. Beginning with the stories of Jesus’ family in Luke chapter 1, we are given insight into the boundary-breaking event that is Jesus’ birth and again we see a God who uses human stories and events to represent and even bring about global Kingdom movements.

From this point in history onward God will pour out his Spirit intentionally on the world as a way to advance the message and the reign of his Kingdom. Over and over in the Bible we are assured that God can use our own story to bring about his larger purposes in the world. Especially in this Advent season, we remember that Jesus was the first-fruits of a larger initiative. We do not celebrate Jesus’ birth as a memorial, but as the moment where the reality of our world was changed.  As we live into that reality, we can be assured that our stories matter. God tells us that when the Spirit grows within us, just like it did with Zechariah, we begin to reflect and even bring about the larger story of God’s will. So what will you do this season not only to remember Jesus, but to become a part of God’s story? How will the Spirit empower you with the boldness and courage to proclaim and walk in step with Jesus’ will? May all of our joy and acknowledgment of what God has done through Jesus move us to action so that our own stories intertwine with his in big and beautiful ways.

You are loved!

Jon

*N.T. Wright’s “Luke: 26 Studies for Individuals and Groups”


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