Daily Devotional

December 2


Now while he was serving as priest before God ... there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard ..." (Luke 1:8a, 11-13a)

What do you do when your life gets interrupted?

Zechariah wasn't expecting an angel that day. He was like us—an ordinary believer, someone who served God in his daily life and did the work God put before him.

And then God put something else in front of him. A sudden turn, a swerve in the road. A miracle. Unexpected fatherhood. A child who would grow up to prepare the way for Jesus.

No wonder he was troubled!

What about you, when your life gets interrupted? What do you do, when fear falls on you?

The angel points the way: "Don't be afraid," he says. "Your prayer has been heard ..." Heard by whom? By the Lord who loves us, and who will hold us up, even as the world changes around us.

No matter what happens to us, God isn't taken by surprise. He knew what was coming. He knows how you feel. He will not leave you to deal with it on your own. How could He? He is the God who came into this world—and into your life—to suffer and die and rise again, all to make you His own dearly loved child. He will not desert you now.

WE PRAY: Lord, when I'm unsettled, be with me and support me. Amen.

Reflection Questions:

* When were you shocked and surprised—by something good?

* If you feel like sharing, what are you having trouble adjusting to now?

* When you are afraid, how do you find help in Jesus?

Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.



But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. ... And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, ... to make ready for the Lord a people prepared." (Luke 1:13-15a, 16a, 17b)

"Don't be afraid, because your prayer has been heard!" I can't help wondering if Zechariah's first automatic reaction was "Oh dear, do I really want this after all?" Because that can happen, can't it? You pray so long for something that it becomes a habit, and when God suddenly says yes, you do a double-take and wonder if you really want to raise a baby in old age.

Praise be to God! He knows we have those moments and He doesn't hold them against us. The angel goes right on with the message while Zechariah gets his brain in gear, and by nine months later, heart and soul and mind have all caught up together and Zechariah rejoices: ""Blessed be the Lord God of Israel!" (Luke 1:68a)

Are you experiencing a blessing that has its scary side? If so, you can trust in God to carry you through it, second thoughts and all. Jesus came into the world to save all of us—the enthusiastic and reluctant alike. His desire for you carried Him through suffering, death, and resurrection—and He will bring you home to Him.

WE PRAY: Thank You, Lord, for being patient with me! Amen.

Reflection Questions:

* When have you suddenly got what you wanted and then had second thoughts?

* What was one downside to a major blessing in your life?

* How does God's patience lead to your blessing?

Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.