Luke 1:8-17, Luke 1:39-45
Elizabeth must have been the envy of many women of her day. Her life promised to be a good one. Even her name meant "God keeps His promises." She had a good marriage with Zacharias, a temple priest. Both of them were 'upright in the sight of God,” so they were 'temple recommend holders' trying to choose the right. Elizabeth came from a priesthood family, the right lineage being so important socially. She was a cousin of Mary, the future mother of the Lord. Right family, right marriage, right character and moral fiber. What more could she want?
Well, a child, actually. The Bible says Elizabeth was well 'along in years’ and had had no children in a culture where childless women were disparaged.
And old Zacharias, her husband, had also been praying for years for a son. All day at the temple, a son was on his mind - and it probably wasn' t always GOD' s son he was hoping would come soon.
So is it just coincidence that he was chosen to offer the incense that midwinter day* when all looked so bleak? With God, there is no coincidence.
God did send a Son. To everyone in this story. A son for Elizabeth and Zacharias, to be sure, who would prepare a way for God's own Son. But it is Jesus who is at the center of the story. Without Him, there is no story. He needs to be at the center of our stories as well... at the center of our sweet Christmas season.
*Since John was 6 months older than Jesus, he would have been born in early October, thus conceived around the end of December.
This is a carol our family loves. Try singing it together this year, but be sure you sing thru to the last verse.
You can sing along with the Gloucester Cathedral choir
They even show the words on the screen. Enjoy.