December 16, 2022 • Life for Leaders
Scripture — Luke 1:76-79
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins.
By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
If you lean into the song-text and take a closer look at this child, cousin of Jesus, his calling in life extends a gentle invitation in our own waiting. The grace that Elizabeth’s womb is nourishing is one that will “give knowledge of salvation…give light…in the darkness…and guide our feet into the way of peace.” John’s calling is to give and to guide. Our invitation is to receive and to be led into peace.
My fellow devotional writers have set us up so well for this season of Advent. They have reminded us that to “advent” is to “wait.” So much happens in seasons and spaces of waiting. In the song of Zechariah, we find the story of Elizabeth who waited in quiet disgrace to have a child. Perhaps she came to that place where family and friends stopped asking that uncomfortable question of newlyweds, “When are ya’ll gonna have a baby?” She bears the burden of first-century cultural expectations to bear children. She is a daughter of priests and married to a priest. Her husband receives a surprise visit from the angel announcing a relief to her dis-grace. In an instant, she becomes a carrier of God’s grace, for John means “YHWH is gracious.”
If you lean into the song-text and take a closer look at this child, cousin of Jesus, his calling in life extends a gentle invitation in our own waiting. The grace that Elizabeth’s womb is nourishing is one that will “give knowledge of salvation…give light…in the darkness… and guide our feet into the way of peace.” John’s calling is to give and to guide. Our invitation is to receive and to be led into peace.
In order to receive knowledge of salvation, we must acknowledge that we are in need of holistic salvation. I have been saved. I am being saved. I will be saved. In this season of Advent, I heard the invitation translate to “receive knowledge of self.” There are parts of me that need saving, healing, growing, tending to. This gentle invitation came to me in the form of returning to therapy once again for this season. A grace extended and a gift to be embraced.
In order to receive light in the darkness, we must name our current places where we are in need of light. The light of Christ is both clarifying and revelatory. As part of my rule of life, my rhythms include sitting in the sunlight in the mornings to pause before I hit the floor running. Throughout my day, I often will stop at a ray of light streaming through a coffee shop window as I am attentive to the Spirit’s invitation to be aware of God’s presence which reminds me to slow down. In the evening, I will open my front door and let the sunset wash over me as I sip hot tea. I am attentive to the ways that I need to release the pressures of the day and welcome God’s grace for things done and left undone. Slivers of light come in many forms for you and me if we are paying attention.
I was encouraged by how these two stepping stones to receive knowledge and to receive light allowed my feet to be guided into the way of peace. These precursors of grace, even as John embodied grace, welcomed the presence of One who is my Peace. This is how I am advent-ing in this season. I pray this honest invitation reaches you as well.
Where are you in need of God’s grace embodied? Would you share with a friend to ask for this grace?
Consider how Jesus is inviting you to receive knowledge of salvation and to receive light in the darkness.
God of grace, send us messengers in the form of friends that bring to us knowledge of self and salvation. Help our bodies be attentive to moments of ordinary holiness where we stop and bask in your light. God of Elizabeth, comfort us in the places where we are waiting and quietly hurting. God of John, grant us the courage and vulnerability to receive your grace. Amén.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the High Calling archive, hosted by the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Saved for Servanthood.
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