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Guiding my feet into the way of peace

Editor's Note

About the author: Sally Bias has been attending ZPC for 21 years. She has served on staff at ZPC since 2003. She has three children: Carly, who is a sophomore at IU; Celia, who is a senior in high school; and Carter, who is in 8th grade (and Peyton, who is 8 or 48 in dog years).

About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of hope, joy, peace, and love. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center. We welcome your comments and questions each day.

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE: LUKE 1:67-80

This year for Advent, we have been looking at themes of hope, joy, peace, and (next week) love. As I was reading the scripture for today, I recognized all of these themes throughout Zechariah's prophecy. In yesterday's devotional, Kira did a great job giving an overview of what's going on in the beginning of Luke chapter 1.

So now that John the Baptist has been born, Zechariah looks forward at his son's life and how it will impact generations to come. He also prophecies about a savior coming from the house of David. There are so many hopeful, joyful, and peaceful things about this scripture. I remember the pregnancies and births of each of my 3 children and can only imagine the hopefulness and joy Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth must have felt at the promise of a son long past when they thought it was possible. 

I wonder what Zechariah and Elizabeth thought their son's life would be like? They must have been committed to God's plan for John – that he would be the profit of the most high. Their son probably was a source of great hope, joy, and even peace for both Zechariah and Elizabeth. But did they know what preparing the way for the Lord would actually look like? Were they aware of how John would spend his days? (Now John wore clothing of camel’s hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey. Matthew 3:4) Or did they know how their son would die? (Herod sent and had John beheaded in the prison. The head was brought on a platter and given to the girl, who brought it to her mother. His disciples came and took the body and buried it; then they went and told Jesus. Matthew 14:10-12) There doesn't seem to be much hope, joy, or peace in these particular verses.

When they considered the whole of their child's life and death, did they have a sense of peace knowing what Zechariah had prophesied? That their child would walk before the Lord giving knowledge of salvation, baptizing people in Jesus' name, giving light to those sitting in darkness, and guiding feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:76-79)? 

I like to tell myself that I would be able to have peace if I were a profit and knew ahead of time what was coming. But I've come to the realization that simply knowing what's to come does not give me peace about it. For example, when I know I need to have a difficult conversation with a family member or friend, I don't have a sense of peace knowing that it's coming. When I remember that God holds me in the palm of his hand and he sent his son, the Prince of Peace, so that I may have a relationship with him, this makes it easier to do what needs to be done regardless of the cost or even the outcome.

And this gives me peace.

Prayer:

Father God,

Thank you for the ways your remind us you are with us and how much you love us. Please help this knowledge impact everything about us. 

Amen.

Posted by Sally Bias with

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Editor's Note

About the author: Kira is a senior at Zionsville Community High School. She has been involved at ZPC for 3 years and has been a member for a few months! She is in Choralaires (ZCHS show choir) and is a cadet teacher in a first grade classroom at Stonegate Elementary School. She plans to go to college (undecided where) to double major in Christian Leadership and Business Management with a minor in Psychology.

About this post: This blog post is part of a series of daily devotionals where we are exploring traditional Advent themes of hope, joy, peace, and love. To sign up to receive text notification of these posts, text zpc advent to 39970. Advent booklets are also available at the ZPC Welcome Center. We welcome your comments and questions each day.

TODAY'S SCRIPTURE: LUKE 1:57-66

There are many words I could use to describe my senior year, but one that would never come to mind is peace. College applications start in the fall, SAT and ACT scores come in, and everyone expects some extravagant blueprint of the future, as if I’m supposed to have a full understanding of what God’s plan is for me. In fact, the only word I can use to consistently describe this year would be overwhelming. It is easy to get caught up amidst the uncertainty of what is in store for the future, and the anxiety these unanswered questions may bring. However, times of anticipation, anxiety, and even fear are when we need to take a step back and breathe.

I know, everyone always says to breathe when you're stressed, worried, anxious, or scared, but, for real, it works. We all can relate to times where we feel like we are on the struggle bus and we will never reach our bus stop of relief, but this is where we must lift our burdens, to-do lists, and schedules to the Lord. With so many things out of our control, what more can we do?

Now, this is where Luke 1:57-66 comes into this picture of peace amidst the unknown. To give some context, I suggest reading Luke 1: 5-25. To sum it up, Zechariah has been approached by the angel Gabriel with a miracle. Elizabeth, Zechariah’s aging wife, is pregnant with a son that they had prayed tirelessly for and he was to be named John. Zechariah responds to Gabriel’s news saying, “...How can I be sure of this?...” (Luke 1:18). In response to Zechariah’s lack of faith in God’s will, the angel makes him mute until his son is born. As you can imagine, Zechariah becoming mute was not part of their plan, and was certainly not ideal with the journey they were about to embark on. I can only imagine the stress that was caused from this. A baby is on the way, and you can’t communicate to each other about all the logistics. How could they possibly have found peace amongst the unknowns that were soon to come? Sometimes God throws curveballs into our lives to enlighten us to how much we really need him. See, in Zechariah’s doubt, there was a bigger issue. He had lost sight of his faith and trust. During the busiest seasons of our lives, we can lose sight of the same things. Specifically, as Christmas approaches, we get caught up in finances, gifts, and the things that don’t actually matter, rather than focussing on the true joy and bliss of Jesus’s birth. Zechariah had no control over the situation, and there was nothing more he could do. He had no other option, but to find peace in what God had done and find joy and comfort in his promise.  

When Elizabeth’s baby was finally born, the people in her life could not have been happier for her. When the baby was 8 days old, it was time for him to be circumcised and named. Elizabeth suggested the name John and the people around her seemed confused, because traditionally, the child would carry a family name. Despite the confusion of her loved ones, Elizabeth stuck with her gut and they had Zechariah write a name on a tablet, and sure enough he chose John just as the angel had instructed him to do. Upon doing this, his speech was instantly restored. Zechariah had not only learned how to find peace throughout the challenging time of preparing for a new baby, but he had learned the importance that peace had in his life.

Peace is often a word that people gloss over. It’s hard to really feel at peace. Our lives are filled with long work days, exhausting school days, and busy weekends, but we cannot put peace on the back burner. Peace is not only a state of being, but it is a lifestyle. Finding peace throughout our busy lives takes actual effort. You have to consciously be looking for ways to find peace in your daily life, which is definitely harder than it sounds. Next time you are feeling pressure, stress, fear, anxiety, etc., stop for a few seconds, breathe, and pray. I promise you will feel his presence.

Activity:

Alright, here’s an easy activity that won’t take more than 1 minute. Next time you feel overwhelmed, take a moment to collect your thoughts, pray the prayer below, and think of things that you can find peace in, in that moment.

Here’s a few song choices that help me find peace:

Prayer:

Lord,

As I go throughout my day, doing the million things I have on my schedule, give me peace and comfort in your arms. Help me to find peace in my everyday routine, and help me to be mindful of your presence in my life.

Amen

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Posted by Kira Nieman with

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