No Silence Will Last Forever

Zechariah and Elizabeth

Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.”

 Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak.  When his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said,  “This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.” Luke 1: 18-25

No Silence Will Last Forever

By Brandon and Anna Huber

When Zechariah heard Gabriel’s message of his impending fatherhood, he asked God how he should know the announcement was for real, as if an angelic message wasn’t enough. Perhaps a priest like Zechariah was too used to reading the cryptic prophesies of the coming age and had come to not take God at His literal word. God answered by taking away Zechariah’s speech. Zechariah’s silence in itself was not the whole sign; his speech would return when the promise was fulfilled. Perhaps he shuddered slightly at the familiar vagueness of “in their time.” Yet God would fulfill his promise before Zechariah’s eyes, and Zechariah’s first words would be those of praise and joy.

Elizabeth’s own reaction to the miracle is also surprising. Rather than broadcast it and celebrate immediately, she secluded herself for the first five months of her pregnancy. Did people doubt her pregnancy while she hid? If they did, there surely could have been no doubt when she reappeared in the middle of her second trimester. Perhaps it was a symbolic gesture, remembering how God had seemed hidden from her life until that moment when He was undeniable. For Elizabeth, her childless years were transformed from a shame to a testimony of God’s reality.

Silence communicates, emphasizing the other senses, and sounds around it. Our Father composes with both sound and silence, though He promises that no silence will last forever. Zechariah and Elizabeth testify to us that, though silence can be hard, God will break it with joy.

This Changes Everything

Mary and Child

“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son,[a] full of grace and truth.  (John testified to him and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.’”)  From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.  The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father’s heart, who has made him known.” John 1:14-18

This Changes Everything

By Rick Straker

That the Word, logos, God chose to be born a child. Human, and yet divine (as if we have any sense of what that really means). That’s just preposterous… isn’t it?

For me, it’s easier to go with the ethereal (pronounced in a high-brow British accent) Jesus the Divine. Like the wonderful picture William Chatterson Dix paints:

What Child is this, who laid to rest
On Mary’s lap, is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ, the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

Angels singing… the announcement of cosmic proportions. I can hear the heavenly chorus swell.

No, no problem there. But God becoming human? No beatific halos for Mary and Jesus. Just a poor boy being born, out in a stranger’s barn, rich with the smells of the animals.  A baby who cried, suckled, and needed his diapers changed?

More like Joan Osborne’s “One of Us.”

What if God was one of us?
Just a slob like one of us
Just a stranger on the bus
Tryin’ to make his way home?

The first song fills me with awe. 

The second chokes me with feelings of “tryin’ to make my way home.”

And I am so grateful that God chooses to walk with us.


Bering Drive Church of Christ Christmas
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:613


by Jennifer Christian

Pause and take a deep, nourishing breath. 
Notice the tiny, sparkling Christmas lights shining beauty everywhere you go.
Individually, each bulb is dim, a tiny trace of light in the darkness. That is okay! Each light shines dimly with confidence knowing its light becomes magnified when combined with hundreds and thousands of other lights.
We, like John the Baptist, are a tiny light when we choose to receive the gift of Jesus. 
“The true Light, which enlightens everyone is coming into the world.”
John knew he was not the true light, but a testimony of the Light that shines on everyone. On our own, we may think our light is dim and insufficient. That is okay! Your light matters. You are a created reflection of the true Light. Together we shine the message. 
“The true Light, which enlightens everyone is coming into the world.”
Throughout this season, pause when you see Christmas lights, and take three deep nourishing breaths.

Breath Prayer 

Breathe in – Receive
Breathe out – Shine

Receive the gift. You are a child of God. You belong to the Light.
Shine your light out into the world:
Shine – Hope
Shine – Peace
Shine – Joy
Shine – Love

Word Revealed

Word Revealed

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life,[a] and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1:1-5

Word Revealed

By Kirk Blackard

This passage is difficult for me to understand. I take it, however that John is referring to Jesus as the Word, and that attributing to Jesus characteristics of words gives us a better understanding of who he is and what we may look forward to. Several characteristics come to mind:

Words reveal unseen thoughts. The Word reveals the unseen God, as God has spoken to us and revealed himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ. We can learn to know God better by seeking to hear Him in every way He communicates, and especially in truly knowing the Word.

Words convey messages and meaning, and are vehicles for sharing our thoughts and providing comfort and healing. Through words we communicate with others and form relationships. Jesus has done the same things. Jesus has conveyed the message of good news, that He is with God and is the light that shines in the darkness, the vehicle for comfort and healing.

Words are powerful. It’s often true that “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Even though words are made of nothing but letters they are powerful things because they convey meaning, thoughts, and feelings. Similarly, the Word is the power of God that can change the world and assure salvation for us all.

Words maintain their relevance. The word of God is alive and active, and Jesus is the living word of God. Just as our vocabulary adapts to stay alive and relevant, the Word continues as the light of mankind, even in an ever changing world.

In summary, the Word reveals God and conveys a powerful message of good news that continues to be relevant for all of us.

Blessings Upon a King

Christmas Crown

“Prayer for Guidance and Support for the King
Of Solomon.

Give the king your justice, O God,
    and your righteousness to a king’s son.
May he judge your people with righteousness,
    and your poor with justice.
May the mountains yield prosperity for the people,
    and the hills, in righteousness.
May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
    give deliverance to the needy,
    and crush the oppressor.

May he live while the sun endures,
    and as long as the moon, throughout all generations.
May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass,
    like showers that water the earth.
In his days may righteousness flourish
    and peace abound, until the moon is no more.

May he have dominion from sea to sea,
    and from the River to the ends of the earth.
May his foes[b] bow down before him,
    and his enemies lick the dust.
May the kings of Tarshish and of the isles
    render him tribute,
may the kings of Sheba and Seba
    bring gifts.
May all kings fall down before him,
    all nations give him service.

For he delivers the needy when they call,
    the poor and those who have no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
    and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life;
    and precious is their blood in his sight.

Long may he live!
    May gold of Sheba be given to him.
May prayer be made for him continually,
    and blessings invoked for him all day long.
May there be abundance of grain in the land;
    may it wave on the tops of the mountains;
    may its fruit be like Lebanon;
and may people blossom in the cities
    like the grass of the field.
May his name endure forever,
    his fame continue as long as the sun.
May all nations be blessed in him;[c]
    may they pronounce him happy.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
    who alone does wondrous things.
Blessed be his glorious name forever;
    may his glory fill the whole earth.
Amen and Amen.

The prayers of David son of Jesse are ended.” Psalm 72

Blessings Upon a King

By Paul Riddle

This psalm invokes God’s blessings upon a king, probably on the occasion of his coronation. It is unabashedly aspirational. It projects a world imagined, in which the king exercises godly rule, intentionally seeking divine guidance to rule with justice and righteousness. In this hoped-for world, the king thoughtfully considers the impact of his decisions on those who will be affected and seeks to mitigate the affects on those who are most vulnerable. The dignity of each person is upheld, the forces of oppression are thwarted, and the people flourish.

Few of Israel’s kings ruled with the justice and righteousness that the Psalmist envisions. Those qualities remain scarce among the rulers of our own time.

Few of us exercise power on the scale of a king, but each of us exercises power in some realm – parent, sibling, employer, supervisor, teacher, and decision maker. In those realms, where most of life is lived, our influence on the people whose lives we touch may be even more far-reaching and long lasting than the influence of a sovereign on his or her subjects.

Whatever power is entrusted to us, may we exercise it justly and righteously.

The Lord Protects the Stranger, the Fatherless, and the Widow

Ruth and Naomi

“Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
I will praise the Lord as long as I live;
    I will sing praises to my God all my life long.

Do not put your trust in princes,
    in mortals, in whom there is no help.
When their breath departs, they return to the earth;
    on that very day their plans perish.

Happy are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God,
who made heaven and earth,
    the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps faith forever;
who executes justice for the oppressed;
    who gives food to the hungry.

The Lord sets the prisoners free;
the Lord opens the eyes of the blind.
The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down;
    the Lord loves the righteous.
The Lord watches over the strangers;
    he upholds the orphan and the widow,
    but the way of the wicked he brings to ruin.

The Lord will reign forever,
    your God, O Zion, for all generations.
Praise the Lord!” Psalm 146

The Lord Protects the Stranger, the Fatherless, and the Widow

By Don Edwards

There is a beautiful love story in the Book of Ruth; and it is a story that never grows old. No, it is not the story of Ruth and Naomi; nor is it the story of Ruth and Boaz. It is a story about the love that God has for the needy and the disenfranchised in this world. In Psalms 146, God said,

“Don’t trust in princes, in mortal man…How blessed is he whose help comes from the God of Jacob; whose hope is in the Lord his God.”

Once upon a time an Israelite named Elimelech took his wife and two sons into the land of Moab in search of food for his family. Eventually he died then his two sons died leaving a widowed wife/mother and two widowed daughters-in- law. In time the food source in Moab dried up, so Naomi said to her daughters-in- law, “I am going home to Bethlehem in Judah.” But what of the young widows? What will they do? Orpah stayed in Moab, but Ruth said to Naomi, “I am going where you go, and I am choosing the God you chose.”

In Leviticus 19;9, Moses gave the people God’s instruction about the needy: “Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corers of your field neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Also leave the fallen fruit for the needy and the stranger.” When the duo arrived in Judah, Naomi located some near of kin and received permission for Ruth to glean the fields of Boaz. This means that God provides by giving the left-overs to the poor. God loves this story so much that he put Ruth, a Gentile Moabite into the linage of His son Jesus.

In conclusion from Psalms 146: “Who gives food to the hungry?…the Lord protects the strangers…He supports the fatherless and widow, “The Lord will reign forever.” Amen

Sign of Hope

Sign of Hope Christmas

“Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test. Then Isaiah said: “Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary mortals, that you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.  He shall eat curds and honey by the time he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good.  For before the child knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land before whose two kings you are in dread will be deserted.  The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on your ancestral house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria.” Isaiah 7:10-17

Sign of Hope

By Daniel Marolf

Most of you (myself included) upon reading this passage were probably confused until you got to verse 14. “What does this have to do with Adven… Oh! There it is! It’s Jesus!” But before we get to Jesus, let’s take a second to consider the other seven verses. For that, I need to tell a brief story (also found in 2 Kings 16:5-20). The story begins in the 8th century BC when Ahaz is the king of Judah. During his reign, the kings of Aram and Israel rebel against the king of the supremely-powerful Assyria, and they want Judah to help them in their fight. When Ahaz refuses, these two kings turn their attention first towards Judah, hoping to overthrow Ahaz by force and put their own king in place. Enter Isaiah (and our passage). Isaiah is telling Ahaz that all he needs to do is trust in Yahweh for help, not call upon Assyria (which he later does). The sign for Yahweh’s deliverance will be the birth of this baby boy, whose name would mean “God with us.” Isaiah explains that before this child is old enough to tell right from wrong, Yahweh would have delivered them from the hands of these two kings, whom Ahaz dreads. The birth of Immanuel was to be a sign of hope. Why does this matter? Fast-forward several centuries to the birth of Jesus, whom we, as Christians, declare with Matthew 1:22-23 to be “God with us.” The 1st century experience of the Jewish people was not a whole lot better than 8 th century experience. They were subject to Roman oppression and domination, able to worship Yahweh, but only on the terms of the Romans. When Jesus was born, his birth became a sign to everyone that God had not forgotten them. In fact, God was literally with them. The ancient predicament might sound similar to our modern predicament. With so much death, violence, and hatred throughout our society and our world, sometimes it seems like God has forgotten us. But then, we remember Jesus – “God with us.” As Christians, we believe that this world is not how it ought to be – that this death, violence, and hatred goes firmly against the plan God had for his world. Jesus is our sign of hope, reminding us constantly that God is working to make the world right.

Lord, thank you for being a God who is for us, who works through us, and who most importantly is with us. During this Christmas season, may we fix our eyes on Jesus and remember that you have not forgotten us and that you are working to make the world right. May your advent – your coming – this season be to us a reminder not only that you came, but that you are coming back. Praise the Lord!

Tomorrow Advent Begins


This is a season of anticipation, a season of waiting and longing for what is coming. We not only focus on Jesus’ birth, but also prepare our hearts for Jesus’ second coming, which is yet to happen. It is in the midst of the waiting that we find those gifts Jesus’ presence will bring us: hope, love, joy, and peace.

Every day there is a short passage of Scripture for you to read. Bering church members have prepared a short devotional as you think about the Scripture and the life of Jesus. May these words stretch you, encourage you, and bless you as you long for our coming King.