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.
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.
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.