Sunday, November 29, 2009

You Are Not Forgotten

I've written an Advent devotional book for my church family. The devotions are sermon excerpts from 28 years of Advent preaching. I've tweaked them a bit, rounded them off here and there, and put them in a devotional format. Each devotional includes a Scripture text and a guide to prayer. May they stir you to wonder and praise.
But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. … And he will go on before the Lord in the spirit and power of Elijah … to make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:13-17).

I still can’t believe we did it. It was a routine Sunday. We went to church at different times in two different cars. I led worship. Shook hands with folks after the service. Locked all the doors. And went home. That’s when we noticed what we’d done. We were one kid short. Kristen was a little toddler—she was there. But where was Nathan? “I thought you had him,” said Dayna. “Me?” I said, “I thought you had him.” At least we knew where he was. A family called and said, “I think you forget something at church.” So I hopped back in the car, raced to church, and there he was—having fun on the playground with a friend. Unbelievable! Dayna and I had forgotten our son. And it wasn’t like we had six or seven kids to keep track of. We just had the two. And we still forgot him.

You ever been forgotten? Ever felt that way? Your children don’t write or call. That friend who said she’d be in touch never followed through. After twenty years in the same company you get a pink slip and that’s that. You buried a loved one, and all the attention you got for a couple of weeks has dried up like a creek bed in August. Forgotten. And sometimes we even feel forgotten by God—prayers that don’t seem to get past the ceiling, worship that never seems to connect. The word is forgotten.

Zechariah and Elizabeth felt that way. Now ready for the old age home, they had no children, no legacy—forgotten. But when the angel met Zechariah in the temple, he reminded Zechariah that they weren’t forgotten after all—the stork was on the way. And this would be no ordinary child. This is the child who grew to become the one we know as John the Baptist. This is the child whose voice would declare after 400 years of heaven’s silence that the people of Israel were not forgotten either: Messiah is on the way!

Even when you feel forgotten, you are not forgotten. God knows who you are and where you are and what you need. Be patient. Wait on the Lord. And when the time is right, He will do a great work in your life. And in the meantime, remember that the Messiah John proclaimed didn’t just come for Israel; He came for you, too. You may be tired. You may be frustrated. You may be impatient. But you are NOT forgotten.

Guide to Prayer
· If you have frustrations with God, confess them to Him now.
· Give God thanks that the Christmas story reminds us that God does not forget His people.
· Pray for patience and trust to wait on the Lord’s timing for His work in your life.


  1. Thanks John -- a great way to help us get ready for Christmas. God's blessings on you and your family.