Disturbing The Neighbors
Fear overwhelms us. On the news, in the mall, in our neighborhoods, at home or school, around the world, many people dread what could happen to them. Everywhere we turn, there is an excuse to be afraid.
During Advent, God takes our fears and uses them to transform us into people who kneel at the manger. Just take a look the Zechariah and Elizabeth’s neighbors in Luke 1:57-66. I preached about them today. When their world was disrupted by John’s birth, his name, and his father Zechariah’s speech, fear overwhelmed them. But God changed them. They began to share this good news across the Judean hillside. They pondered these things in their hearts. They asked “What then will this child be?”
To ponder means to store up information so you won’t be afraid down the road. Pondering anticipates future crises and acknowledges God’s presence. The disciples do the same in Luke 21:14-15. They “make their minds up beforehand” as they prepare for trials. They use discretion in their speech. They have a mouth and wisdom that no one will contradict.
How is God going to change a world in the grip of fear? The same way he did 2,000 years ago. He will use our fears to draw us to the manger. It might even begin in your neighborhood.