It seems like only yesterday, but forty-one years ago, during my senior year of college, I sat across from a woman I didn’t know. She confirmed what I feared with her announcement. “You’re pregnant.”
I stared at her as she continued to talk, but I remember nothing of what she said. Only questions flooded my mind, drowning out her words. I still had two quarters before I graduated and then at least one more year of school to earn my teaching credential. How would a baby fit into that? What would Van say? We talked about getting married, but we weren’t even engaged yet. I walked out of the clinic dazed and unsure.
While I wish we had done things God’s way from the beginning, He faithfully worked out the details of our lives. (You can read a little more of that story here.)
Christmas tells the story of another unmarried, unprepared girl hearing the announcement of an unplanned pregnancy (Luke 1:26-38). Mary didn’t sit in a clinic, afraid some stranger would tell her what she already knew.
Without warning, in the middle of an ordinary day, God sent His angel, Gabriel, with a greeting that surprised and troubled Mary, Continue reading “Only One Question Answered: Wholehearted Faith”
Reverently, Zechariah pulled on his priestly robes. His name, chosen by lot, meant today he could enter the temple and light the incense. An honor. Because there were 80,000 priests, not every priest got to enter the holy place, but today Zechariah could. His heart swelled with joy at the honor. Serving God, offering the sacrificial incense, the aroma that pleased God so He bestowed forgiveness on His people.
Before he left, Zechariah gently kissed his wife, Elizabeth, on the cheek. Looking at this woman he loved, Zechariah felt the familiar sadness. He couldn’t stop the old question, “Why, God? Why no child? This beautiful woman who loves You suffers shame. People look at us and whisper. ‘Surely, God never blessed them with a child because of their sin.’ But You know, God, You know we serve You with our whole hearts.”
Zechariah sighed. Asking those questions didn’t help; the hope for children died as Elizabeth grew too old. They would never have children now.
Shaking off the sadness that threatened the holiness of the day, Zechariah entered the temple alone. Continue reading “The Angel Visits God’s Servant, Zechariah”
Ah, the joys of modern technology! I received an unexpected FaceTime call from my granddaughter, Robyn, the other day. Being the young senior citizen I am, I quickly moved the phone from my ear so I could see her beautiful face. Since Van and I were on a retirement adventure together, I put the phone on speaker and we both chatted with Robyn. Those few minutes filled my heart with joy for days.
We caught up on the day-to-day going on in our lives. Robyn shared about school and band and spending time over Thanksgiving vacation with her friend, Emma. Van and I talked about our new house and getting to know our new community. We laughed and promised to talk again soon.
While I didn’t expect a phone call from Robyn right then, my phone ringing didn’t surprise me. And with caller ID, I knew who was calling before I answered. I had a pretty good idea of what the content of the conversation as soon as I saw Robyn’s name.
But a little more than 2000 years ago, God sent His messenger, the angel Gabriel, on unexpected visits. Continue reading “God’s Unexpected Message: Good News”
Emails flood my inbox. Black Friday and Cyber Monday messages promise that if I click on a link and buy, my every desire can be fulfilled. If I miss those sales, no worries; just for me, they extended the sale. But if I don’t take advantage of these limited offers, I lose.
God used prophets to deliver His messages. Prophets sometimes warned of looming disaster because of Israel’s disobedience and turning away from God. His people truly did lose when they ignored God’s warnings. The kingdom of Israel divided into two, invaded by enemy armies, the people taken captive and forced into exile in foreign lands.
But the prophets also provided a message of hope, the promise of God’s salvation and redemption. Continue reading “God’s Promise of Hope”
My sister, Robyn, is coming to visit! To help me prepare, I make lists: meals, transforming my office into a guest room, places to see. She hasn’t seen our new home and community yet and I want her to feel welcome. I don’t want to cram too many things to do and miss out on the most important part of seeing my baby sister, time together.
Robyn frequently travels for work. She scheduled her trip to Prescott at the end of a week in Virginia. The week before her business trip, her step-daughter got married. And Christmas is only a week after she gets home.
I know she needs quiet and rest. Time to unwind with her big sister. The only expectation, time to talk and listen and be loved. More than anything, I long to give this gift to Robyn.
December often becomes a month where we try to crowd too many things into too little time. We prepare for Christmas with lists of gifts to buy, parties to attend, decorations to make our homes Pinterest perfect, things to do, places to go, and things to see. It’s easy to lose sight of why we’re doing these endless things. Continue reading “Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room”