For the month of December, I thought I’d share snapshots of some of the key players in the Christmas story. I hope you enjoy them.

It’s Never Too Late

Zechariah and Elizabeth truly did what God said was good. They did everything the Lord commanded and were without fault in keeping his law. But they had no children, because Elizabeth could not have a baby, and both of them were very old.

                                    Luke 1:6-7, NCV


Ah, December! It’s time to prepare for the festivities of Christmas. Some of us decorate our homes, make multiple shopping lists, send greeting cards, and plan special events with family and friends.  It’s all wonderful!  In fact, it’s all Divine!  Christmas is God’s idea. He was the first gift giver. Let’s look at the way He answered a prayer of two of His faithful ones.

Peek in at Mary’s cousin Elizabeth…

Elizabeth and Zechariah lived simple lives, doing their best to serve the Lord. They were respected and loved by their friends and neighbors.  They trusted God could do anything. One of the prayers of their hearts was to have a child of their own. They prayed and prayed, but Elizabeth did not conceive.  They continued in prayer for many years until Elizabeth became too old for childbearing.  They were sad, but they accepted the idea that their prayer was totally out of their hands.  There was nothing more they could do. Having a baby was simply impossible for them. 

So What About You?

Have you ever prayed and prayed, hoping for a miracle for something important to you?  If you have, then you probably understand the disappointment Zechariah and Elizabeth may have felt. God knew their hearts, but had a bigger plan for them. God knows your heart too. Your prayer may seem impossible, or hopeless, but it isn’t. God is the same now as He was then. He still hears the prayers of His people.  

God Answers the Prayer

Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.

            Luke 1:11-13, NIV

Zechariah was a priest and he had gone into the temple to pray.  He was chosen by lot to go and offer incense to the Lord.  As he prepared to do so, an angel appeared to Him. Zechariah was dumbfounded, amazed, and terrified all at once. As he tried to recover, the angel spoke to him.  The angel tried to comfort his fears and immediately offered a message of hope.  He said, “God has heard your prayers.”

As Zechariah stood stunned by the appearance of the angel, he heard this message.  You’re going to have a baby!  Your prayer of many years is going to be answered. Not only that, but you will have a precious son whose name will be John.  Perhaps Zechariah was so shocked by all of this, his mind could not take in the message.  “What are you saying? Elizabeth and I will have a baby son?”

The angel affirms this query and tells him that John will be a blessing to many. He will make people happy that he has been born. He will prepare the way for one who is to come.

As you prepare for Advent, think about what it would mean to you to know God is working even now to answer your heartfelt prayers. 

Draw near to Him.  Let Him know you are still listening, still hoping, and still trusting in His love and mercy.  It’s the perfect way to prepare your heart for the joys of Christmas. 

We’ll see God’s plan unfold as Elizabeth meets with her cousin Mary. Stay tuned.