Together with the kids next door, my brother and I would often spend summer nights sleeping under the stars in the backyard. I remember that sometimes, as we looked up at the stars into the vastness of space, I would feel so very insignificant and yes, alone – even though my brother and friends were around me. It was as if the vast universe had overwhelmed me, yet it was silent. Do you ever feel this way about God? You feel overwhelmed and you long to hear His voice, but all you hear is silence? There was a 400 year span between the last word given by God and written down in the Old Testament and the first coming of Jesus. 400 years where God’s people longed to hear Voice but only heard silence. It was the messengers of God – the angels – who broke the silence first to Zachariah, then to Mary, Joseph, and finally the Shepherds, all of them pointing towards that moment when God would break the silence toward all humankind with the voice of a baby. On these three Wednesdays leading up to Christmas week, we focus on how God broke the silence then and now. On these Wednesdays, will hear anew the call of the angels, the call of Christmas. Where do you feel all alone? Where do you long to hear God’s voice? Where are you desperate to know God’s presence in your life? Where do you especially need Christmas, yet the cacophony of the many voices of bus-y-ness in our world during this time only makes it seem that God is even farther away and even more silent? Right here is where God would speak to your heart on these three Wednesdays in Advent with, “The Call of Christmas.”
Wednesday, November 30th “Hope Grows Where Hurt Was Rooted” (God Breaks the Silence: Zechariah)
Zechariah and his wife were both old. They had vainly longed for children. They had lived in that place where God seemed silent as they poured out their hearts to Him. Hope had gradually faded and died in the seeming silence of God. Where can you relate in your life? But God did not leave them in this place. He broke His silence to Zechariah. He breaks His silence to us as He gently calls us to Christmas.
Wednesday, December 7th “When WeSay ‘Yes,’ It Changes Everything” (An Angel Comes Mary)
Mary was probably just a teenager…a humble believer in Jahweh, the saving God who had promised to send a Savior. She live in a small village. Not many knew she even existed. It would have been understandable if she thought that God didn’t even know she existed…or at least cared that she existed. But God knew. He had plans for her. And when the angel came, in humble faith she said, “May it be to me as you have said.” And it changed everything. He also sees us- you and me, even when we don’t think anyone knows we exist. And the Christmas message is that He comes to us, also, to change everything. What will we do?
Wednesday, December 14th “God Uses the Humble to Do Great Things!” (The Angels Appear to the Shepherds)
Shepherds, in the time of Jesus, were on the low end of the economic and social totem pole. No one would have thought God would choose them to experience the Bethlehem angels! Yet, God chose well. They obeyed the angels and excitedly went in search of the baby. Why? Because they knew they needed Him. Why? Because they knew they needed God and He had spoken to them through the angels. So, God used them and honored them to be the first eyewitnesses to the birth of Jesus! God comes to us, also, through His Word. Most would not understand why He would choose us….but He has and He does! And just like the Shepherds, as we witness to the baby, we do great things for the glory of God! How can you witness to the baby right now?