When I was a little kid you could ask me anytime of the year and I would tell you my favorite scripture in the Bible was Luke 2. You know. Luke 2 where the traditional Christmas story is found. Imagine my shock last week when someone told me they don’t like the Christmas story. What?!?! Tell me more, right? He said he doesn’t like the Christmas story, but he likes the Easter story. Baffled again. There wouldn’t be an Easter story without the Christmas story. ~sigh~ Sometimes the logic spinning around in someone else’s brain is no match for mine. I love the Christmas story; always have always will. Today the Advent readings start introducing the part of the Christmas story we all (well most of us) know and love.
We’ve been to the Old Testament, heard the prophecies and yesterday we read about a man who would precede Jesus, and today we find out how the birth of John the Baptist was announced. Let’s take a tiny step back here. Just so you know, Baptist was not a denomination. Some translations of the Bible call him John the Baptizer because that’s what he did. OK – let’s move on.
Do you remember Abraham and Sarah from way back in Genesis? They were old, way too old to have children, but they had a whole tent full. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I would hope to have at the age of 90 is a bunch of preschoolers to care for 24/7. But God’s ways are not our ways and this same truth carries over to today’s reading. Zechariah, a priest and his wife Elizabeth were old, but they were faithful to God, followed all his commands and were pretty much the model of faith and believing. That is until an angel of the Lord popped up in front of him and told him he was going to be a father. At that point he was scared speechless.
This is the beginning of the story …. meet you back here tomorrow of a little more.
The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold
In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Both of them were righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly. But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old.
Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
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. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John.
Do you think Zechariah was thinking All Is Well? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCflgm5HtuA Michael W. Smith & Carrie Underwood