· The arrival of a notable person, thing, or event.
· The first season of the Christian church year, leading up to Christmas and including the four preceding Sundays.
· The coming or second coming of Christ.
The Advent begins…
5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.
What is the back drop to today’s passage? The nation of Israel had lost their expectations about the Messiah after not hearing from God for 400 years. Zechariah and Elizabeth had lost all expectations for both a child and performing his ultimate priestly duty.
Expectation does not require me to act. Only the other person has to act in order to live up to the expectation. This is not a relationship. This is a dictatorship. (This is what I deserve.)
Expectancy requires that now I become an active part of the solution. No judgments, just faith and excited anticipation of what will happen next.
8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 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. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 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. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 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.”
Expectancy can turn back into expectation.
18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And the kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
Luke 1:24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”
Expectations can paint God into a box of our making. Living expectantly frees us to have faith and allows God to surprise us and surpass our imaginations!
Eph. 3:20 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us,
The Message Version - God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
WEEKLY SCRIPTURE READINGS
Monday: Ephesians 3:14-21
Tuesday: Isaiah 55:6-9
Wednesday: Daniel 3:16-18
Thursday: Proverbs 3:5-6
Friday: Matthew 6:25-27
Saturday: Philippians 4:19