New Plan: Journey to Christmas (Day 1)
Hope in the waiting
Today we start our journey through the story of Jesus’ birth. Together we will fix our eyes on Jesus during this busy holiday season, read about the experiences of the people caught up in the first Christmas, ask questions about our own life and faith, and make time to pray for ourselves and others.
The Christmas story, as told in Luke’s Gospel, culminates in the birth of Jesus but begins with the story of Mary’s cousins, Elizabeth and Zechariah. They come from a good family. They have a good reputation. They have obeyed and served faithfully for a long time. And yet, there is a hole in the middle of their lives.
We enter into Elizabeth’s and Zechariah’s story at the low place of infertility. The obstacle of advanced age. The experience of disappointment and hope deferred.
There are parts of our lives that we allow the world to see, often the most presentable parts. But on the inside, each of us carries disappointment or regret.
I ask myself, are there places in my life where I have obeyed and served faithfully, but I don’t seem to have anything to show for my obedience?
God, I hold my disappointment and regret before You and wait for You with hope this Christmas…
Pause and pray
I think of those I know who have served and obeyed and are still waiting. I bring them before God now. In particular, I pray for those who can’t have children.
May the God of all hope give them joy and peace as they trust in You, that they would abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit, even as they wait (Rom. 15:13).
Pause and pray
Not only were Zechariah and Elizabeth childless, but they were also very old – past childbearing years. Perhaps there had been a window of opportunity, and it had passed them by. Life had moved forward and left them behind. Do I feel like I’ve missed my window of opportunity? That I’ve missed the boat or been left behind?
God, it’s tempting to rush to the end of the story – ‘and they all lived happily ever after.’ But I want to be honest about my disappointment. God, I hold before You the problems that seem unsolvable, and I’m choosing to trust You, whether You answer my prayers in the way I hope or not.