God’s Unexpected Message: Good News


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. Without warning, Gabriel appeared twice, once to Zechariah and once to Mary.

After years of prophecy, warnings about God’s punishment due to their continued turning away, God was silent for 400 years. Israel waited for the hope the prophets also promised. The Messiah they expected a mighty king to defeat their enemies and captors, returning Israel to the golden years of King David.

Interrupted in the middle of their ordinary lives, both Mary and Zechariah responded with surprise. Who could blame them? No caller ID let them know who wanted to speak with them. And since Gabriel wasn’t on their contact list, they didn’t recognize him. Since he appeared in person, they couldn’t block the call.

Gabriel, who stood in the presence of God (Luke 1:19 ), sent to deliver God’s unexpected message to common, everyday people. The message, however, was anything but ordinary. Two unexpected babies, both planned by God, that changed the lives of Zechariah and Mary. Good news that changes the lives of everyone who believes.

The Savior was coming.

Sunday, December 10, is the second Sunday of Advent. In our home, we light the white candle on our Advent wreath, representing the angels. This week, join me as I focus on the impact of the angel’s announcements to Zechariah, Mary, and Joseph, and their responses.

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Author: Debbie Putman

I am a child of God, seeking to trust Him in every joy and sorrow. Sharing my walk is my husband, Van. God blessed me with two beautiful daughters and three delightful grandchildren. I teach seventh grade English and History, love to read and bake cookies, watch the birds in my backyard, and the ocean.

18 thoughts on “God’s Unexpected Message: Good News”

  1. What a great perspective and comparison. It’s true, the message that God sent was very unexpected. Sending His son as a servant vs. a king. I’m so grateful I’m on this side of it – or I probably would’ve missed it.

  2. I wonder how many times God has tried to ‘call’ us but we decided we didn’t want to take the call. What we have missed! May we all tune our hearts to be as responsive and ready as Mary was! Thanks for the post!

    1. Thank you, Betsy. And if Gabriel did have caller ID, would we take the call? Delete it? Hang up on him? Praising God that He works despite us.

  3. Thank you, Debbie — I just love sitting with the notion of the jarring nature of all those messages. After a long silence from heaven, suddenly angels everywhere, and who would have ever thought that God’s wonderful plan would unfold in such an amazing way!

    1. You’re welcome, Michele. God’s amazing way of working still surprises me today, not just in the birth of Christ, but also in how He works in my life.

  4. I love the analogy you used with caller ID. How many times do we receive a call from God and we don’t recognize it or do and then ignore it. Thank you for highlighting Advent and the miracle of two unexpected babies.

  5. Debbie. I love this time of year. One of my favorite Christmas songs is , “Mary did you know?” I cannot imagine what young Mary felt at the moment she was visited by the angel Gabriel. May we all be as obedient as she was when Christ calls us to serve Him. Thank you for this reminder of the “good news” of the gospel of Christ. Have a wonderful holiday season and God bless you and your family.

    1. Horace, “Mary Did You Know?” is one of my favorites too. It reminds me of both the deity and humanity of Christ. Blessings to you and your family this Christmas.

  6. Debbie, I can only imagine the element of surprise they must have experienced in the presence of the Lord’s angel!
    I have often wondered what my own reaction would be. I believe, fear ,is not too far off. 😉
    Ps- I read about Zechariah and Elizabeth in my devo time this morning, so this was a timely message. I look forward to hearing more!
    (visiting from LMM)

    1. John MacArthur reminds me that the fear wasn’t just the startling appearance but the awareness they were unworthy in the presence of God’s holy angels.

  7. The messages from God must have come as such a surprise, especially after such a long time of waiting for the Messiah- no wonder they were afraid! It’s a good reminder to be open to God acting unexpectedly, even after a long wait.

    1. Lesley, Think how startled we are at an unexpected noise and imagine you’re going about your regular business and suddenly someone you don’t know appears and starts talking. And we do need to remember to be open to God acting unexpectedly. Especially when we’ve waited and waited. God is always working His plan. Are we open to Him?

    1. Joanne, I agree; the events of Christmas are familiar to us and we forget the shock the people chosen by God must have experienced. We glamorize and gloss over the nitty-gritty details. Our expectations for Christmas include only the fun.

Thank you for joining me on my journey with God in uncharted water. Please let me know how He is working in your life.