December 22, 2017

Creative Arts Advent Devotional: Week 3, Day 5

Merideth Hite Estevez




Some of my first baby gifts!

Friday, December 22, 2017:

“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.”

Luke 1: 20

Before I became pregnant myself, numerous people told me that becoming a mother could be a deeply spiritual experience. As this process of growing a human for the first time has been happening to me this year, I do find myself in agreement with them. Miracle is one way to describe this process. Getting out of God’s way would be another. It has certainly been a lesson in trust and praise, that’s for sure. Mostly, I feel blessed to be expecting a child, as I know many people are not afforded this privilege.

What has surprised me most in this process is how along with these warm feelings of closeness and mysticism, has come a very unsettling feeling. To describe it positively, I might call it awe, more negatively it could be deemed worry... but let’s just say it might be most accurately described in Zechariah’s reaction to the angel in this verse from Luke 1.

Have you ever been given an amazing blessing and felt a rush of intense doubt and anxiety immediately upon getting the news? I do not blame Zechariah in his response one bit. I fell mute in disbelief the first time someone gave us baby clothes as a gift. It seemed impossible to believe that a human being that I was going to make in my own womb was going to wear that onesie.

Maybe the silence that the angel sentences Zechariah to isn’t a punishment but a gift. How many of us could benefit from quietly reflect on God at work in our lives, to quiet our minds and lips as we live in the presence of the holy miracles happening every day in our midst? I don’t believe that my disquieting (interesting word...isn’t it?) feelings about even my blessings are a direct distrust of God. Instead, I think they are more of a symptom of the smallness of my hopes and dreams. God always seems to be calling us to greater and greater blessings that are beyond our understanding. Like C.S. Lewis wrote, “like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” * When did our awe and praise become so clouded by doubt and worry? How can quiet meditation and reflection of both the good and bad in our lives bring us closer to God and God’s will?

Prayer: Creator God, thank you for your miracles, big and small, believable and unbelievable. Help us to not be so easily pleased, and to hope for your power and might to bring about impossible blessings in our lives, in spite of past hardships. Thank you for the gift of motherhood and all your precious children, in and out of utero. Especially the Child we celebrate at Christmas, your Son, in whose name we pray, Amen.

Creative Call-to-Action: For 10 minutes today go for a walk, keeping silence. Listen to the world around you, and whenever you notice something, give it to God. What questions form in your mind? What doubts trouble you? Trust God in the silence.

—Merideth Hite Estevez

*The Weight of Glory


Advent Creative Arts Devotional: Week 3, Day 4


Thursday, December 21, 2017:

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.”

Luke 1:19

When I used to think of angels, I always imagined these figures draped in all white with a gold halo strumming a harp. WITH WINGS! Don’t forget the beautiful long white wings that allow them to travel between heaven and earth. In fact, the main-stream media has made an angel out to be this unattainable creature that no human has the potential to become.

It wasn’t until I became an adult that I encountered people who challenged my thought process. They challenged me by exhibiting characteristics of an angel that I didn’t hear about or see on television or read in stories. They showed me compassion in times of desperation, generosity and kindness at times I didn’t deserve it, and most importantly they showed me unconditional love.

Just like this passage, angels come into our lives spreading messages of hope, love and salvation. They are constant reminders that God is always present whether we are enduring tough times or celebrating the best of times. Sometimes we listen and we are filled with hope, other times we may be so discouraged that we don’t embrace the message. This may be because it’s not the message we wanted to hear, it wasn’t said when we thought it should be said or it didn’t come from who we thought it should have come from.

We must remember to not be like Zechariah, in his doubt. We must take the time to lis-ten and take heed to messages that come from God’s chosen people. We must use dis-cernment and recognize when we are in the presence of an earthy angel who God has sent to help us find our way.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for thinking of me so highly that you would send your angels to me in my times of need. Right now I ask that you bless me with the wisdom to know when you have sent me an angel to bring about good news and the courage to listen to the message. I pray that I be reminded that your angels are a constant reminder that you are always there and you will never leave me or forsake me. In your name I pray, Amen.

Creative Call-to-Action: Write a letter to someone who has been an angel in your life. Take the time to include a moment where they shared good news or a message you desperately needed to hear. When you complete the letter, decide if you would like to send it to your angel or keep it for yourself.

—Brandi Bey


Creative Arts Advent Devotional: Week 3, Day 3

Merideth Hite Estevez