For many years I have published an Advent Meditation booklet for friends and family. This year I’ve decided to try posting it daily on my blog. (If technology cooperates!) For each day you will find verses from the Bible before my text. You will need to find these verses in a Bible for the text to make sense! If you don’t have a Bible, you can Google the verses without a problem. If you are new to the Bible, look up the book (e.g., Luke, Matthew, etc.) in the Table of Contents. I trust this Advent journey will be a blessing.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 28
“Get on with it, Luke! I’m ready for shopping and carols. I’m ready for the BIG story.”
.But Luke–determined to write an orderly account–starts describing an event prophesied four centuries earlier in the bleak days of the prophet Malachi. I will send my messenger who will prepare the way before me (Malachi 3:1) Luke doesn’t begin with the Messiah but with a Messenger. He doesn’t highlight the politically powerful but a simple woman and man of priestly heritage who have lived with unanswered prayer well into old age and kept the faith through long years of heresy, treachery, religious deterioration.
Luke seems to know that we are often not ready for the transcendent Messiah story until we’ve trod the lonely desert path of disappointment, disillusionment, and doubt. The birth of Christ will introduce hope into a hopeless world but I’m afraid we’re not very good at authentically facing the hopelessness. We want Luke to quickly move to Bethlehem. We want to turn from front page news of starvation (maybe write a check to a humanitarian agency?), sexual abuse (refuse to face it even in our own churches?), unanswered prayer (mouth pithy assertions like “God always says ‘yes, no, or not now'”).
Luke doesn’t include any reasons for God’s silence in Elizabeth and Zechariah’s lives. He simply states the bold facts of reality: …they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old. Just the facts of life.
The facts of life may be dragging you down this first day of Advent. But God calls us–along with Elizabeth and Zechariah–to the long path of unremitting duty, perhaps wondering if an angel will ever come. The big story will be told. Just not yet.