Luke 1:1-25; Ezekiel 33; Isaiah 57
Zacharias is an interesting figure in the Christmas story. He was an older priest, married to Elizabeth. (Elizabeth and Mary were related.) Zacharias and Elizabeth had been praying for a child. The two of them had grown old enough that they thought their child bearing days were over. Perhaps the answer had been so long in coming that Zacharias had stopped praying earnestly and, if he still prayed for a child, was more going through the motions than earnestly praying. Then came his time. It was a big honor to be able to burn incense before God in the Jewish worship plan. He went in to burn the incense, people outside were praying, and while he was there an angel appeared. The angel announced the news to Zacharias: your prayers are answered. You’re going to be a daddy. That’s when Zacharias really messed up! “And Zacharias said to the angel, ‘How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.’” (Luke 1:18) Here’s a hint: if you have been praying for something for years, and an angel whose first words have to be “don’t be afraid,” appears and says that your prayer is going to be answered, don’t argue! Prayer is powerful and so often we minimize the responses that God gives us. “I prayed and it happened. What a coincidence!” “Well, it was bound to happen anyway.” Sometimes the answer is “no” and if we are truly focused on our relationship with God, a “no” from Him is a positive answer anyway because He always wants the best for us. Fortunately for Zacharias and for the rest of humanity, God chose to honor the years of Zacharias’ faith instead of this one faithless act and John was born. As we live our lives every day, let us remember to seek God in prayer, expecting Him to answer in the best way possible for us. Then, let’s be grateful for the answers that God gives.
Lord, as I seek You daily, please reveal Yourself to me. Let me know Your desires that I might seek their fulfillment. Let me know Your plans that I might be included in Your work. As I lift my concerns to You, let me always be ready to hear Your answer and respond the right way.