Advent Study 2020

Sharing Our Stories: December 17

Writer’s Name: David Rowan

Writer’s Ministry : Worship Leader

Assigned Text: Luke 1:57-80

Word of the Week: Joy

Have you ever been invited to do something you really didn’t want to do, but ended up really glad you did it? It could have been something you felt you couldn’t do well; or maybe you thought it would be boring. Whatever the reason for your initial negative feelings, there came a moment when, in doing this thing you doubted or dreaded doing, you realized that you were, somehow, having FUN.

For me, I remember when I first decided to head back to the gym.  I was out of shape. I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror. And the thought of possibly making a fool of myself in front of everyone didn’t exactly bolster my enthusiasm. But I had the motivation to make a change. However, I dreaded one single thing: the treadmill. I hated running. I always have. Even when I did sports in high school or intramural leagues in college, I HATED running.

So when I finally decided to start exercising again, I could see that looming shape of a treadmill like a blight on my otherwise optimistic fitness outlook. When it finally came time to go on my first run, it was just as horrible as I’d always remembered.  My heart pounded uncomfortably. I was drenched in sweat, and I was just plain exhausted.  It just felt gross.

Fast-forward a few months.  I had done my best to be faithful to the process.  Every cardio day I jumped on that treadmill. I gradually and strategically increased my goals to run faster and farther. I pushed myself, even though I had loathed every minute on that treadmill.

One night, something strange happened. I had decided to try something I had never done before: run a continuous 5 miles–no stopping and at a consistent pace.  I’m not sure what possessed me, but there I was, starting the first mile of what was sure to be a hellacious 50 solid minutes of running. But then there came this moment around the middle of mile three. I realized I was happy. I was excited. I was motivated, inspired, and enthused to meet this goal. But more than all of that, I realized I was having fun. I was having fun… on a TREADMILL!

The next 25 minutes passed quickly and when I stepped off the machine, I sauntered over to the stretching area, laid on the ground, took a deep breath, and smiled with joy.

In the passage, we get to witness the moment where Elizabeth and Zechariah name their newborn son. When Zechariah confirms the child’s name will be John (cue eye-roll that they didn’t believe Elizabeth), he’s able to speak again. When Zechariah originally doubted the process, that doubt silenced him.  But in the moment when he finally makes that choice to trust in the plan and see it through, his voice returns and all around them rejoice. For us, when we stick to the process and finally see the results after all that struggle, there is joy.

Daily Prayer: God, give us the motivation and fortitude to see things through, so that on the other side we may find joy in the results.  Help us to trust you and to know that you have our best interest at heart.  May we follow you, even through our doubts, and find joy in fruition on the other side. Amen.

Discussion/Reflection Questions:

  1. What is something you do because you have too, but really dislike doing?
  2. What helps to motivate you to complete that task?
  3. Is there anything you know you should do, but your fears and doubts are holding you back?

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