Christmas Advent, Faith
Comments 7

{Advent} A Shade of Things to Come

Beautiful painting of the lone cypress by William Prosser

The heavens declare the glory of God {Psalm 19:1}

I awoke early.

The house was quiet and still with sleep. Night slowly pulled back the curtains on the lavender light of dawn.

The room I shared with my husband and kids was a monochrome of lilac-gray. I silently picked my clothes from the suitcase, grabbed a sweatshirt and shoes and opened my sister-in-laws front door.

That sliver of lavender-lemon sky I spotted through a crack in the curtains washed over the sky like watercolor. Tall eucalyptus and redwood trees rose like sentinels, their gray spires scraping the ever-lightening arch of sky. I stood in the chilled morning air, still heavy with its night blanket of fog, closed my eyes and listened.

Morning had broke in the east and darkness faded above me, but I stood listening in the shadowy, coastal neighborhood and  waited for ocean sounds to meet me. Like a child placing conch to her ear, I strained to hear the roll of the surf.

There it was! It called to me amidst the whisper of branches and the call of crows and gulls. I began to walk. I followed it’s silver sound until I found it, the Pacific Ocean in myriad shades of azure and turquoise, flashing metallic when it catches sun rays.

On the shore, I removed my shoes, faced the vast blue and cried. The morning sun warmed my back with golden light, the sand brushed my feet and my breath caught in my throat. The sound of the ocean had led me to it’s side, all I needed to do was listen and follow.

///

For centuries, four hundred years, there were no prophets to Israel. After Malachi, the heavens were silent. The Hebrew people were left to wait and watch for their Messiah. Perhaps God felt he’d given them full disclosure through the prophets, perhaps he was allowing time to pass and Rome to rise in power.

In a sense, though God was silent, he never really is silent at all. The heavens, and the incredible creation on earth, truly declares the majesty of God. Are we listening? God preserved his word over those centuries, while the priests discussed and pondered and debated, his word and promises were past on from father to son to son.

And like a child holding a conch shell to her ear, some followed the prophets and waited and listened.

When the angel Gabriel visited Zechariah, he said that God had heard his prayer. Had Zechariah been merely praying for a son, or had he been praying for the promised hope prophesied by Malachi, the one who would “turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous”?

{Luke 1:5-17} In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years. Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside. Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous– to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. 

It must have been disheartening for God’s people to wait in silence. Sometimes it can be discouraging to pray the same prayer over and over, year after year. But our God is not silent. He is faithful and he hears our prayers. I believe that even though Zechariah doubted God’s message that he and Elizabeth, both elderly people, could actually have a baby, he didn’t doubt God’s ability to fulfill his promise of sending a messenger who would prepare the way for the Lord. We can learn from Zechariah to believe in God’s personal promises, that his truth is not just for the corporate body, but for each of us individually. He hears our prayers, he is faithful, he will answer.

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7 Comments

  1. Hello..visiting from 5 Minute Friday.. what an absolutely beautiful post! You have such a great talent! the first part was poetic and lovely and the second very convicting.

    Thank you for sharing and God bless.

    • Thank you for coming by Lisa Maria! (what a pretty name) I love Lisa Jo’s prompts — it’s always fun to see where they lead! Thanks for commenting, too; it’s nice to know what resonates with people! Blessings, Aly

  2. Great point, we’re the ones stuck in this dimension, not Him. He made it and controls it. A thousand years to us is like a day to Him. Patience and perseverance are gifts all unto themselves. As often as I’ve dreaded the long spans of times in my life that He required to teach a lesson to a stubborn mind, they have always been the sweetest of gifts. It’s a tough thing to walk this life inside this fallen soul cage…

    • Floyd, I so agree. Won’t it be amazing to see the world as it was meant to be, from God’s perspective someday? And, to think he took on the limitations of humanity in order to free us! Bless you, Aly

  3. So beautifully written – I loved your description of following the call of the ocean beauty, and I loved this: “It must have been disheartening for God’s people to wait in silence. Sometimes it can be discouraging to pray the same prayer over and over, year after year. But our God is not silent. He is faithful and he hears our prayers.” Encouragement for me as I wait on God in prayer for some family members … thank you!

  4. I have a God-incident to go with your God-incident. 🙂 It is this: I was thinking these EXACT things today, how God was silent for 400 years, but how he isn’t really silent at all.

    How all creation sings His praise. How the trees and fields and mountains speak to His glory. How His Word is living and active — always speaking, always transforming us.

    Thanks so much for linking up your story. I enjoy your writing voice, and all the vivid details of our ocean visit.

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