Week Four Advent: See
Welcome back for Week Four of Advent and Christmas Eve on the Revelation Wellness Blog! If you are just joining us, watch the short, three-minute video on Week One to learn how to use this devotional with friends and family!
An Opening Prayer:
Incline my heart, O God, to your ways. Turn my eyes from longing after vanities. (Psalm 119:36-37)
Old Testament Reading– Isaiah 11:10-16
New Testament Reading– Luke 1:5-25:
Scripture Reflection– Luke 1:5-25
Father, thank you for hearing your children’s prayers. Thank you for the gift of children and your sweet attention to them throughout the gospels. As I read the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth, specifically the conversation between Zechariah and Gabriel, I almost want to laugh and cry at the irony.
When Gabriel tells Zechariah that Elizabeth in her old age will conceive a baby boy, Zechariah questions the angel. Though Zechariah is in the holiest place he could be, at the altar of incense inside the temple of God, he cannot believe this conception is possible. I imagine he laughs a little bit at Gabriel before saying, “How shall I know of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years” (v. 18).
The joy that Gabriel has when delivering this great news to Zechariah is replaced with a stern rebuke. He reminds Zechariah that he is a messenger of God; this message is true and good! Since he does not believe Gabriel, Zechariah will not be able to speak until his child is born.
Oh, the irony! In the months that Zechariah could be praising God as he watches Elizabeth’s belly grow, he is brought to silence. He is called to watch and wait for this blessing to be fulfilled.
In a world where there is little consequence for thoughtless words, it is hard to imagine such a punishment– silence! Zechariah isn’t given the chance to manipulate his words or genuinely ask for forgiveness. Instead, he must be silent through the whole pregnancy.
Has God ever called you into a posture of waiting and silence? What did you learn from that time of silence?
Luckily, this is not the end of the story. I promise Zechariah’s forced silence is so much better than what would have been a guilty, “Sorry.” God knows what He is doing, especially when He disciplines his children.
If you read the result of his silence in Luke 1:57-80, you’ll see Zechariah praising God for the birth of his son, John. Tomorrow morning, our quiet preparation will also turn into praise for Christmas day. For the Son of God is born into the world as a baby in the humble town of Bethlehem. The birth of Jesus is just the beginning of a new chapter in God’s story to restore the world and dwell with us again. Let us rejoice and be glad!
A time for spontaneous prayer. Or answer the question: What do you notice from the Bible reading?
A Closing Prayer:
Gracious Father, you knew what you were doing when you silenced Zechariah during Elizabeth’s pregnancy and you know what you are doing now. As we lay our heads down to sleep tonight, filled with the excitement of Christmas morning arriving with the dawn, remind us once more that you are the King of all kings and the Lord of all lords. We anticipate the day when our sadness will turn to laughter, our fear will turn to joy, and all that is lost will be found. Fill us with joy as we gaze at your Son in the celebration of Christmas. Amen.
Rev Tip: How will you celebrate?
Set aside time this week with your family or friends to plan Christmas traditions or activities you would like to do together over the Christmas season, i.e. baking Christmas cookies, caroling, Christmas movie night, etc. Have fun and laugh together!
In the comments below, tell us some of your favorite Christmas traditions!
Scripture reflection and closing prayer written by Gabby Wenos.
Gabrielle Wenos is a Revelation Wellness Staff Writer and Revelation Wellness Instructor from Platoon 21. She lives with her husband in the Shenandoah Valley. They both love to ride bikes, hike, climb, and visit lots of coffee shops. You can catch her adventures on Instagram, @gabbywenos.
Thank you for observing Christmas Eve with us on the Revelation Wellness Blog! Please share your stories about how you use this devotional with your friends and family and your experience doing the RevTip each week!
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HEATHER’S RESTORATIVE YOGA – “STRETCH INTO BED”
Restorative yoga is the practice of slowing down and opening your body through stretching which allows your muscles to relax. This is a great way to end your day after work or it can be one of the last things you do before you get into bed.(ALL LEVELS) (PSALMS 103; YOGA MAT, STRAP & BLOCK)