Somehow, we’ve made it to the end of 2020, the strangest year of my lifetime (and probably yours, too).
Aside from the election and virus drama (which is ongoing and not insignificant), our family has had an interesting year. We’ve had some exciting professional changes, as well as some personal growth in our local friendships. We’ve juggled our two oldest son’s education as it fluctuated from virtual (back in the spring) to in-person (this fall), along with the workload of my senior year at Lee University. We’ve stayed home a lot, learned to use an Instapot, enjoyed the Mandalorian, and read a ton of books.
Zechariah was a priest and prophet about 500 years before the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, yet he prophesied more than 14 specific points about the coming of Christ. His name, and the title of his book, means “the Lord remembers.”
We must remember the context: this was after the calling of a people through Abraham. After the period of enslavement in Egypt. After the miraculous exodus. After the wandering and battles and victories and losses. After the Babylonian captivity. After being set free, once again.
In Zech. chapter 2, we witness the powerful language of God speaking through Zechariah to His people, crying out, “Come, O Zion! Escape, you who live in the Daughter of Babylon!”
“Jerusalem will be a city without walls because of the great number of men and livestock in it. And I myself will be a wall of fire around it,” declares the Lord, “and I will be it’s glory within.”
“Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you...Many nations will be joined with the Lord in that day and will become my people. I will live among you and you will know that the Lord Almighty has sent me to you.”
Zechariah’s life was spent declaring the coming of Immanuel, the God who chose in love to come be with His people. Zechariah was fulfilling the priestly role—to prepare the way for the Lord…to call many nations out of Babylon and into Zion…to ignite a fire of readiness. He was foreshadowing the coming of Christ, our great High Priest (Heb. 4:14-16).
Our God is not passive. Not forgetful. He remembers.
Temps are dropping, skies are grey, and gusts of wind whip the last of the golden leaves to blanket the ground. We are saying goodbye to glorious fall and bracing ourselves for a long winter–a winter spent (mostly) at home, no doubt, and in need of accoutrements.
In the spirit of making-the-most out of our mostly stationary lifestyle (hashtag 2020), I’ve put together a quick wishlist of items that I’m eyeing for the coming winter season.
I look at the clock again. How is it that time already? Where have the last 45 minutes gone? I’m scrambling to finish the task I am doing, one of about a thousand that requires me to do it, my hands and my feet, and not anyone else. My pace quickens as I throw in another load of laundry, picking up items on the way to be distributed to their original places.
The small people in my home, my own flesh and blood and tears and laughter, ignore my prompt to brush their teeth to fight over a ninja turtle action figure instead. It is as if my house is spinning around me, tiny faces and random things flying through the air, and I can’t find a steady place to hang on to. I am Dorothy without her ruby red slippers.
I’ve been spending some significant time with St. Augustine lately. If you remember, he was the Bishop of Hippo during the fall of Rome, that great “Eternal City.” I like the bishop; he is profoundly relatable. He shares the inner dialogue of his heart and mind with astonishing transparency in Confessions, a sort of autobiographical retelling of his coming to Christ at age 34 (If you have not read Augustine yet, start here.)
But it is his political theory -and more so his theory of history and how we fit into history- in his dense work, The City of God, that has caught my attention during this insane election cycle.
It was a simple mistake. A grammatical error, to be exact. But it was on the internet, the modern-day public square, and (crucial to note) the error changed the meaning of the statement. When I received a mocking response (yes, from a stranger!) I was surprised at how it felt—like a hot iron, pulled from an angry fire, and pressed on my mistake. Exposing, embarrassing, and painful. My face flushed with shame; I was caught in a stupid blunder.
And just as quickly, the embarrassment was followed by shock at my reaction. Why had I responded that way?
It’s mid-week, late afternoon, sitting-in-the-porch-rocker time and I’m watching birds dive-bomb for treasures in the yard. My mason jar of iced coffee went down too fast and I want another one, mostly because it was delicious, but also because it is a humid 87 degrees out (and the coffee brings sweet relief).