Advent 11, 2018: Angelic Appearance

It was a career highlight to be sure, thought Zechariah, but moreover, it was the closest he would ever get to a burning bush moment.

How enthralling! 

How amazing!  

How monumental as a career milestone! 

He was getting carried away in a flurry of excitement, but then suddenly, a cold feeling of total unworthiness weighed heavily on his shoulders and wrapped about him like a shroud.

He began to understand the significance of such a feeling.  

This atmosphere of seriousness made the air heavy to breathe.  He almost gasped for each breath when the reality hit him.  It was not meant for personal satisfaction.

Suddenly, it lifted light and warm, sweeping across his face like a joyful morning song.  What was going on?  

He was completely and unexpectedly overcome by the spiritual experience, the holiness of it all.  He could admit it: he had holy fear. 

He could hear his pulse in his ears and his hands were oddly sweating with a feeling of nervousness.  A profound sense of awe covered him from every angle. People were praying outside, and he was here inside, close to Adonai, doing what some priests would never get the opportunity to do.  He was taking in every moment—as if making a record of it—for this event’s memory would need to last him the rest of his life.  He’d never get the opportunity again. 

He was deep in thought, unable to lift his eyes to such a holy task, when he felt like there was someone there.  His heart pounded like a man being chased.  “Who was there?  Who are you?”  Not a sound. 

He must be imagining things, he thought, but his heart’s rapid beating told him otherwise.  He looked to the altar of incense to resume his work, but he was self-aware, consumed with his surroundings and that odd feeling of being watched.  He looked again, and at the right-hand side of the altar, there was an angel of the Lord.  His heart nearly stopped at this sight when the angel commanded,

Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.” (Luke 1:13)


His Story, Your Story: 

  1. Zechariah’s experience was supernatural and totally unique.  That is something none of us will ever experience.  But there are ways in which closeness to God can elicit that same holy fear and result in profoundly spiritual outcomes.  Are there any experiences you have had that could only be called “spiritually powerful”? 
  2. When God shows Himself powerful in your life, what feelings do you have? 
  3. Most of us go through our days picturing ourselves as basically good on that scale from Hitler (worst of the evil side) to Mother Teresa (superior on the goodness side).  However, if the scale goes from sinful human (Hitler) to divine perfection (Jesus), we’re all on the Hitler side—totally unworthy compared to Christ. How is grace amplified by a true sense of our own unworthiness? (Read Romans 5:20-6:10 for insight.) 

Self-Reflection topic: Holy fear

Prayer:  Father God, we ask that You remind us of Your perfection every day so that we always might view ourselves rightly.  Lord Jesus, give us joy in acts of righteousness and give us a sense of holy fear of judgment for our times of failure, not as retribution, but as restoration of what needs to be a right relationship with You.  Help us Lord, to cherish that relationship.  Holy Spirit, please strengthen our resolve in prayer, in faith, and in perseverance so that we might bring glory to God.  Encourage us to see ourselves as unworthy people gratefully redeemed by grace, not just simply unworthy as condemned by our adversary.  Help us to see ourselves through the lens of love through which You see us.  Amen.


By way of reminder, if you haven’t signed up yet, you can receive these Storyteller devotional studies in your email throughout Advent 2018 by entering your email address on the home page in the space provided in the sidebar.  Or “Like” the SeminaryGal Facebook page to access them there.  If you like these devotionals, I’d really appreciate your letting others know so I can continue to spread the Good News far and wide.  Blessings to you, in Christ always, Barbara <><


Acknowledging inquiries about the entire season’s devotionals for your study group’s planning purposes, Seminary Gal’s prior seasons’ Advent devotionals can be accessed via the archives to the right and are as follows:  

  • Last year’s Advent Devotional Series (2017), Still Christmas, began December 3, 2017 and was the Advent complement to the Lenten series, Be Still and Know that I AM God.
  • The 2016 season devotionals were called Timeless: The Message of Christmas for All Ages” and explored how the message of Christmas is timeless truth, for all ages of people, and for all ages at all times.  Timeless hope, encouragement, grace, peace, and love as we looked into the Word, saw the face of our Lord Jesus, and experienced restoration in His presence.  His goodness and His Gospel are truly Timeless. The 2016 devotionals began November 27, 2016.
  • The 2015 season devotionals were titled Incarnation and involved digging deep–and yes, I mean deep– in this important mystery of Christian theology.  They began November 29, 2015.
  • Carol Me, Christmas! remains one of my most popular offerings and tells the Christmas story through our most beloved Christmas hymns and carols.  You can access all of the numbered devotionals from 2014 via the archives.  They began November 30, 2014.
  • The 2013 series was Emmanuel: When LOVE Showed Up in Person and examined the Prologue to the Gospel of John.  It began December 1, 2013.
  • The 2012 series focused on Expecting the Unexpected…the unexpected, unlikely, and uniquely divine qualities of God’s perfect plan outlined in Luke’s account of the Christmas story.  It began December 1, 2012.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on December 12, 2018

Social Networks: RSS Facebook Twitter Google Stumble Upon Digg Reddit

Leave a Reply