Daily Reflection – 12/19/18
In the days of Herod, King of Judea,* there was a priest named Zechariah of the priestly division of Abijah; his wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous in the eyes of God, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly. But they had no child,* because Elizabeth was barren and both were advanced in years. Once when he was serving as priest in his division’s turn before God,9according to the practice of the priestly service, he was chosen by lot to enter the sanctuary of the Lord to burn incense. Then, when the whole assembly of the people was praying outside at the hour of the incense offering,11the angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right of the altar of incense. Zechariah was troubled by what he saw, and fear came upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid,* Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall name him John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of [the] Lord. He will drink neither wine nor strong drink.* He will be filled with the holy Spirit even from his mother’s womb, and he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah* to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.” Then Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” And the angel said to him in reply, “I am Gabriel,* who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news. But now you will be speechless and unable to talk* until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.”
Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah and were amazed that he stayed so long in the sanctuary. But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He was gesturing to them but remained mute. Then, when his days of ministry were completed, he went home. After this time his wife Elizabeth conceived, and she went into seclusion for five months, saying “So has the Lord done for me at a time when he has seen fit to take away my disgrace before others.” (Luke 1: 5-25)
In all of our lives there will probably be things that we are not proud of. Maybe it may also be a deep shame for something in the past.
Now, imagine your whole life was displayed on the walls of a church. Everything you have done. Everything you have ever said. Everything you have ever thought. What would it feel like if your friends and family could walk around the room and see all your secrets?
But here’s the good news. A day is coming when God will come to fix the world. To you, to me, to followers of Jesus around the world – God says a day is coming, a day of his favor, when he will take all our guilt, all our shame, all our brokenness, all our mess.
A day is coming when God’s people will shine with the very radiance of God. A day is coming when the humble believer will be exalted to the right hand of the Father, seated with Jesus on the Throne of Majesty. If our story has been grafted into Jesus’ story, then his happy ending is our happy ending; his glorious victory and power will one day be our glorious victory and power. As Mary will say, later in chapter 1, “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but sent the rich away empty.”
Zechariah and Elizabeth show us promises being fulfilled. God’s promise of a new world is certain.
Prayer of The Day
Lord Jesus, you bring hope and restoration to your people. We pray that you continue to strengthen Christian family life today. Help me to love and serve my family even more deeply. I pray that your love rules in all of my relationships. Please remove any barriers to peace and harmony. Amen
As we await Jesus’ coming this Christmas, let us all strive to have a hopeful vision and a joyful attitude towards God’s daily revelations. Let us keep our hearts and minds open at all times. So that from being Zechariah, we may become like Mary in her trusting and faithful attitude towards the will of God. And that like her, we may proclaim with gratitude all the great things that God has done for us.