By Miriam Rossow

Last year at this time I was not in a very wonderful place emotionally. As many of you may recall, Justin and I received the call to St. Luke mid-fall and then accepted that call the Sunday before Thanksgiving.  So the weekend after Thanksgiving when I am usually putting up my Christmas decorations, which I love to do, I was instead sorting, organizing, and throwing things away. My Christmas preparation was not what I expected.

You must also know that I was very sure that God was calling us to St. Luke, and I was not altogether happy about it. I had a wonderful group of friends for me and my children, and for Justin and me as a couple. I enjoyed the weather in Texas and I was happy with how I was serving God and his church. And yet, he was calling me and my family away from that to something different.

When we got to St. Luke and Michigan I knew we were following God’s call and being faithful to him. I was however not in a place to receive his promises. Everyone, family and church, was thrilled that we were here; and I was still mourning the loss of the life I knew.

As our year continued God was gracious in showing me many reasons why he had moved us to this location at this time. Many of them were difficult; Byron’s illness, my Dad’s cancer, and Justin’s Grandmother’s death. We also had joyous blessings like being able to attend Justin’s Uncle’s ordination and 2 Goddaughters’ baptisms.  God continued to be gracious and faithful to his promise even in the midst of my tired and worn out emotion and life.

Like Zechariah in our reading on Sunday, I was not prepared for what God had planned for me and my family. Like Zechariah, God tookChristmas magic gift box and a happy family mother and baby away something so all we were left with was the promise!  His promise to always be with me, His promise to provide for me, and His promise to love me were all I had to hold onto.

I am thankful that God is gracious and His promises are bigger than me!

Zechariah had 9 months of silence and time to focus on God’s promise to him that he would have a son. Zechariah had 9 months to recall that this promise was given to him not because of anything he did, not because of his faithfulness or merit. This promise of a son was given to Zechariah because God intended to give it to him.

I did not have a great heart last year at Christmas and yet God’s promise of a Son to save me from my worries, grief, loneliness , and stubbornness were still good and still given to me. His promise was not dependent on how I felt!

Here we are, 12 months later, and I have been able to focus on God’s promises to me. I have seen God be gracious in showing me reasons why we were moved at this time. His promises were given to me not because of my faithfulness to follow. They were given because he intended to give them to me!