Anticipation...that's what the Advent season is all about. In our celebration of Christmas, we know that Jesus has already been born, yet we still choose to celebrate the Advent of our King each year as a reminder (just as I choose to celebrate the entire month of my birth leading up to the actual day.) It's the anticipation of what's to come, anticipation of the celebration.
But what about the times when you are anticipating that which you still do not know, simply an anticipation of a promise. That may get a little more difficult, because that requires patience, that requires trust, that requires FAITH.
In Luke 1, we are told of the birth of John the baptist who would eventually be the voice crying out to others to prepare the way of the Lord, Jesus Christ. John's parents were older and his mother had been barren, so when the angel told Zechariah that his prayers had been answered and that they would have a child, he did not believe it. But even in his unbelief, God remind faithful to His plan and to his promise. And so, months later when his wife, Elizabeth, gave birth to their child, the Bible says that her neighbors rejoiced with her! Her husband too, I would imagine, although, because of his initial unbelief, the angel told him months earlier that he would remain silent and unable to speak until all had taken place.
Oh, how difficult that would be especially at the site of one's firstborn son.
As was customary in those times, the child was circumcised on the eight day, more than a medical procedure this was a religious practice, a sign of their covenant with the Lord as God's chosen people, set apart and called. On this occasion, the child was also to be named and naturally they would have named him after his father, Zechariah, but Elizabeth, the baby's mother as the text reads...
"answered, “No; he shall be called John.” And they said to her, “None of your relatives is called by this name.” And they made signs to his father, inquiring what he wanted him to be called. And he asked for a writing tablet and wrote, “His name is John.” And they all wondered.
And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came on all their neighbors. And all these things were talked about through all the hill country of Judea, and all who heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, “What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him." Luke 1:60-66
I know that there is so much going on before this point, during and so much more to come, but what got me in the gut this day was the question that the neighbors laid up in their hearts. This question.. "What then will this child be?” For the hand of the Lord was with him." Oh, the anticipation!
Zechariah's faith in declaring this childs name to be John was the last barrier that allowed God to loose his toungue from his past unbelief. Zechariah beleived! And calling his son, John, against all customs was a testimony to that belief.
I can only imagine at this point the initial words that the angel shared with him at the announcement of his answered prayer to have a child must have come flooded back to him. These words "And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” Luke 1:14-17
So as Zechariah spoke for the first time in months, his words were a declaration that signified "This I do believe." The anticipation of the proud parents, the anticipation of the neighbors who rejoiced knowing the hand of God was on this child must have been great. Yet all they could do was wait...... wait to see the answer to the question that was pondered up in their hearts of "What then will this child be?"
As the years went by, did they remain patient, anxious expectant or doubtful? Maybe at times a little bit of each, but there is no denying that faith in the midst of anticipation is much more fruitful than doubt or fear, wondering if God will do what He said he will do.
As you wait.... trust. As you wait, anticipate the fulfillment of what God has promised you. As you wait, prepare. As you wait, get ready for God to use you to turn hearts to Him.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel.
I love you in the Lord! Mia
I have been working on a little writing project over the past several months. I wrote, re-wrote, had it proofed and re-proofed and then I let it sit for a while before I took it to the shop to be printed.
The day that I finally went to the print shop…. three days before I needed, I arrived with my project completely unformatted, so Tracy, the print specialist, worked patiently with me to make sure my project came out looking it's best. She gave me her opinions and even helped make decisions on color choices, all the time showing me great patience.
The store was quite busy, so it would take about three days before I would have my project finalized, but I was thankful and grateful that she would be able to get my project done in time in spite of my procrastination.
After she finished taking my order and all the printing notes, she looked at me and said "Can I just thank you for being so nice, patient and understanding" It took me back at first. I explained to her that I was thankful that she was so patient with ME. I can be handful and a bit high maintenance as I am not the most savvy person when it comes to formatting projects.
You see, the day earlier, Tracy dealt with a customer that wanted his project right away and when he did not get his way, he was apparently quite mean and brought this sweet worker to tears.
As I thought about our encounter, here is what I pondered... Tracy thanked me for being patient even though I did absolutely nothing out of the ordinary. I simply treated her with respect and gratitude for the work she was doing. I didn't scream and I didn't yell because she couldn't have my project ready in one day.
It saddens me that we live in a society where, all to often, people are so self-focused, that when a person is simply civil to another human being, they are seen as extraordinary.
Friends let's bring the extraordinary back to a place of being simply and beautifully ordinary. Let's bring back words like "Please & Thank-you" when we are out in the world. Let's treat others the way we want to be treated ourselves.
And on those days when we slip, let's have the humility to go back and simply say "I'm sorry." And I, my friends, have had to do that on a several occasions.
Love you in the Lord,
Aside from being a wife, mother, singer, songwriter, traveling worship leader, speaker, writer, and newspaper editor, I have another job. My official title is Business and Community Relations Director. It's a fitting title as I love building relationships and I love the organization, Extreme Faith Productions, that I get to work with.
One of the biggest events that we do is this week! It's called ELEVATE and it's a three day music festival in Prescott Valley, AZ, with some of the top artists and bands in the Christian Music Industry. It's a blast and extremely exhausting. As part of the planning team, this event can also test the limits of one's patience.
This past week I came across a powerful quote on one of my favorite social media platforms,Twitter, and it has been running through my head like a tape recorder. And honestly, the playback feature on these words have made me a much nicer person to be around.
If you are struggling to be patient with others this week (or anytime in the near future) may I share these words with you.
"Patience means adjusting my speed to someone else's pace.
It's another way to show God's love to another."
I have found that when I want to move faster with the vendors and businesses that I am dealing with frustration subsides when I simply slow myself down and adjust my pace. When we walk at the same pace it is miraculous how in-time we are and how well we communicate. That's the pace where harmony happens.
May you hear the sweet melody of patience this day, the harmony as you slow your speed to another's pace. And through it, may you show God's love in simple and magnificent ways.
Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. ~ Colossians 3:12
I love you in the Lord, Mia
Today is one of those days where I just want to throw in the towel and just cry. Spending the last few days on Customer Service lines, then running into the physical store, just to run back home to get back on the phone so that I can run back to the store to straighten out a bill. A bill which customer service and the store can't even seem to agree on.....You know those days...
All I know is I am being way over charged. Yet, in all of it, all I can seem to do is take a deep breath, ask God to allow me to be patient, courteous, wise, gentle of heart and loving. Breath in His grace and then breath out His grace moment after moment when inside, all I really want to do is scream.
When my husband called a little bit ago to ask me how my day was going and I began to vent, I suddenly stopped and thought, it's no big deal. It was at that moment when perspective hit me. In the big picture this is such a minor thing. Really, if this is this biggest trouble of my day....not so bad, huh?
But in all things, God gives me an opportunity to show grace, patience and kindness even when things have me on my last nerve.
Maybe today is a big deal......a big deal when I have an opportunity to show love to others even when I don't get my own way (says the youngest of seven kids.)
I am reading through the Bible and have been in the book of Exodus this past week. After reading of the constant grumbling and complaining of the Isrealites when they were hungry, wandering and thirsty, even after all the miracles that God performed before their eyes, parting the sea and saving them from Pharaoh, I was mortified.
This is what I said to the Lord..."Lord, how do you deal (tolerate) with them....How do you deal with me....How do you deal with people...God, how do you deal with flesh?!?!"
To which He immediately replied "Through the flesh of my Son, Your Savior, Jesus Christ"
And I then sat in silence, humbly thinking "Oh, yeah, that's right"
Then I asked myself this question, "How do I deal with people that grumble, complain, don't appreciate?" I think my response to those same people that God deals and how He deals with me should be the same.......through the blood of Jesus Christ, with His forgiveness, mercy and grace.
"Lord, help me to view your people the way that you do. Help me to love and to forgive and to remember that you loved us first. You deal so patiently, firmly and steadfastly with us...with me. Help me to do the same. In Jesus name, Amen"
A collection of writings from a life based on the truth that about midnight anything can happen.
As an imperfect servant of the Lord, I often feel I am fumbling my way through life, looking upward for guidance and outward to love. So, I write about it, to break up the noise in my head.