Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nesting Instinct Luke 1:68-79

Nesting Instinct - Malachi 3:1-4; Luke 1:68-79
Dec 20, 2009, WPC, Santa Fe

Intro to luke passage:
The story of Jesus’ birth is told in detail in the Gospel according to Luke, and it is one of the most beloved stories of all of Scripture. This morning I will read from the end of the first Chapter of Luke, verses 68-79, found on page ___ of your pew bibles if you’d like to follow along. It is a song sung by Zechariah.  A song of praise and a song of prophesy
Zecheriah was the father of John the Baptist.  He and his wife  Elizabeth had not yet had children, and they were beginning to think that they wouldn’t have any children.  But, the angel Gabriel appears to Zechariah and tells him that they will in fact have a child, and not just any child, the messenger who would prepare the way for the Messiah, as foretold in the scriptures. Zechariah questions, can this be true?  And for his doubt he is made mute.  Maybe a punishment, or maybe just a lesson to be learned about the power of silence, and not always talking. For months, as the baby grows in Elizabeth’s womb, Zechariah is speechless, until the day of the baby’s dedication.  And these words are what come out of Zechariah’s mouth. Let us listen to God’s Holy Word: Luke 1:68-79.

Some of you have been to our home before...several times for a few; and some of you have never been there.  We hope to change that soon by having an open house in the spring for all to come and see and hang out.  Whether you've been there before or not, there have been some major changes that have taken place. First of all, my wife Trasie, who is not here to defend herself so I can say whatever I want--kind of cause I know all of you will go and tell on me--she is a designer. That's how you have to say that, designer.  Try it.  She studied industrial design at georgia tech and for whatever reason she can't just see things, and accept them for what they are...she sees things and feels like she has to change them, rearrange them--make them better.  She sees buildings, cars, computers, gadgets, whatever...and feels like she has to mold them, shape them into something new! A New Creation.  You should have met me before she did.  I was WAY different (but, maybe not for the better :).

So we move into our house back in April of '07.  To me, it looks fine.  Perfect..why change it? But, Trasie had a different idea.  And she sat on it a bit, until, until...she got pregnant.

Have any of you ever heard of nesting instinct.  You know, it's pretty easy to understand. Mama birds, before they lay eggs, build nests. So do a lot of other creatures...including humans. This is scientifically proven: It's "the distinctive urge to clean, tidy, and organize that occurs during pregnancy."1  "By having your baby’s room ready, all her clothes organized, and her meals planned, you are ensuring that your baby will have the best chance for growth and survival after birth."2 That's what the experts say about how nesting instinct manifests itself in humans.

Some women have little or mild symptoms of this...and some go over the top.  Now, where might you place Trasie on that scale?
Not only did Ruby Gene's room get cleaned out (it was our office), it got repainted, new furniture (changing table, crib), all kinds of clothes and diapers, baby books, toys, need I go on.  But not only that...she put in a covered patio outside, a deck, she switched a door that was in the front our house with a window that was in the back, new landscaping...
We even got chickens...all in less than a year.  That's what you call nesting instinct PLUS designer!  Don't even asked how we paid or had time for this...I don't know; but I worked my tail off.  

All this to say, poor Zechariah.
(We'll call him Zech). Zech had it in for him when his wife Elizabeth finally got pregnant. Everyone thought she wouldn't be able to have kids, she was "getting up in years..."   probably in her late 20s! And Zech, who's a priest goes in to pray, encounters the angel Gabriel, who says that Elizabeth will have a child.  This child:
"will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’" (Luke 1:16-17). Zech says, "No way."  "Way," replies Gabriel; and Zech is rendered speechless until the kid is to be born.

So here you have Zech, a mute, and Elizabeth pregnant, with her nesting instinct kicking in.  You better believe that she put Zech to work, and he couldn't say a mumblin word! And since she wanted this baby so bad and had been waiting for so long to have the kid, where do you think she was on the nesting instinct scale? Zech probably built a whole new house!  (It should be noted that nesting instinct isn't just a motherly thing...according to experts; we men can have it too.)

All the while, thinking, contemplating..wondering, what would come of this child.  What faithfulness of God to bring this messager, and for the messenger to be his boy.

As I mentioned Zech was a priest. He knew the scriptures very well. He knew the prophesy of Malachi: 
The messenger who was John, Malachi compares to "a refiners fire...burning, purifying people as if they were a precious metal, or a fuller's soap...lye, bleach, that could cleanse wool...and make it white as snow. All a of the messager who was to be born of Elizabeth.

What's cool is that the two of them Zech and Elizabeth were preparing for the birth of their child, as they should...and the role of this child, who would be named John, was to prepare the way for another child, whose birth was just right around the corner. John learned must have learned about nesting instincts right away, had it in his blood;  His nesting instinct would lead him to "go before the Lord to prepare his ways." Luke 1:76

John's nesting instinct was about giving "knowledge of salvation... and forgiveness of their sins;" giving "light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’"

And so my question for us this morning is do we have that nesting instinct as well?  Trasie had it to be did Elizabeth and Zechariah had it.  And they were preparing for babies to come into their lives. During this advent season, as we await the coming of the Christ Child...are we preparing?  

We scramble around from one event to the next during this time of year. Schools go on break, we hang lights from our portales; cut down a tree, wrap gifts, shop shop shop.  We know good and well how to get ready for Christmas.  But what are we getting ready our hearts...what are we making room for...more stuff? Or are we getting ready for a deeper, more meaningful relationship with this Christ child who came to be our savior. A deeper more meaningful relationship with our friends and loved ones.  A deeper, life changing relationship with those in the community who are different, who are lonely, who are hurting.  

I wonder sometimes how much what I do, what any of us do really matters. Looking at the big world, the course of history...who am I? Who are we? 

And what I find in Scripture is that for God...our actions very much matter, because God cares about us. God cares about you and me...and cares about what we do, because God is Creator. 

Malachi says that our nesting instinct, our preparing for the Lord should be absent of such behavior as adultery, swearing falsely, oppressing the hired workers in their wages, oppressing the widow and the orphan, absent of pushing aside the foreigner. And in the gospel, we see what our nesting instinct should look like, as we prepare for Jesus. Jesus says that when we feed the hungry, welcome the stranger in our midst, give clothes to those who need them, give someone a drink of water, we do it to him. 

All of our lives are about living with a nesting instinct; getting rid of the bitterness and hardness in our hearts.  Being ready for when Jesus comes into our lives...Zechariah gives us a good example.  What could his first words have been after he got his speach? Zech had been waiting for it for a long time...and when his mouth finally opens up...what do you think he said? 

Praise to God. Salvation is coming! Prepare a path! He had been meditating, and his life had been transformed into one of gratitude. Nesting instinct...we've all got it in us.  Maybe you didn't know you had it.  Maybe you've forgotten what it was like.

Go out and meet a pregnant woman...who's really showing with a big belly, and just ask her: What are you doing to get ready? And just point... And then go get that baby room ready because Christ was born thousands of years ago in a Manger in Bethleham; Christ has been born today, this very morning in these pews, in the name of the father, the son, and the holy spirit. Amen.

2 Ibid.

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