Beautiful Between

living fully in the now & not yet

God With Us: Erasing Shame

The coming began with a miracle. And it began with erasing shame.

Before Mary and Joseph encountered angels, before the birth in Bethlehem, there was another birth.

Zechariah and Elizabeth had done everything right:they were faithful, upstanding, close to God. Zechariah was a priest who stood blameless before the Lord – not perfect, but repentant in failure, soft-hearted toward god.

But they’d lived long years with unanswered prayer for a child. And though the heartache of infertility sears in any era, it was especially painful then. Their community would have believed Elizabeth was barren because of secret sin, because the Lord was not pleased with her.

In their time, she would have been considered “defective,” and Zechariah might well have been urged to leave her. But he stayed. And though he was a priest, he walked with his wife in her deep shame.

Until the announcement: even in old age, you will bear a son, great before the Lord.

This was 400 years of heaven’s silence broken: a promise of a son. It’s not likely what the people expected as they prayed, but it was a word from the God who had seemed so distant. And this son would grow to be John the Baptist, even now, making way for another Son.

He didn’t believe the searing shame would be so easily erased.

But rather than awe, Zechariah wanted a sign. And the answer? He would be dumb-struck until the day his son was born.

The sign he received should have been his response: so often, awe mutes us. Beauty beyond words stills our wondering hearts. As Zechariah waited in silence for this deep longing fulfilled, Elizabeth also kept to herself for months, guarding the precious gift within.

This has been the prologue, the whispered beginning and stirring of His coming.

But God With Us is on the way. Immanuel is drawing near, and He is taking away our reproach. 

Tonight, take a moment to pause, read the Scripture, and let your heart be awed. Remember that He started this by coming to an unknown couple, answering their deepest longing, and erasing their shame. 

He wants to do that for all of us

As He comes close, our God is in the business of stripping away shame. He does it constantly, quietly, in the secret places of our hearts. And He’s ready to show up and do it for you, too.

And then gather your heart, your longings, your secret shame together. Gather them around – He’s coming soon.

Reading: Luke 1:1-25

Song: Gather ‘Round Ye Children by Andrew Peterson



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*These devotions are inspired partly by Andrew Peterson’s gorgeous album, Behold the Lamb of God: the True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ. You would love it in your Christmas music collection <3

4 Replies

  1. Dr. Clark Roush

    This post is salve for the soul, welcome for the weary, and heaven-sent for the heavy-hearted. Bless you for being such an incredible blessing.

    1. I’m so grateful this is encouraging and salve for your soul. Thank you for your kind words

  2. Benn van Coller

    Thank you for this post Sarah. You write special words of encouraging in a unique from-the-heart way. Its joy and sweet to read. May G_d bless you and your family over the this special time of year.

    1. Thank you, Benn! God bless you and yours as well!

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