Zechariah hurried down the cobblestone streets of Jerusalem. Barely noticing the colorful stalls of the merchants, and their loud calls to buy their wares as he rushed past. He was on his way to the Lord’s Temple and he couldn’t be late. Zechariah was a priest of God Most High and his order was on duty at the temple this week. The head priest would be drawing a name, only from the priests that were present at the time. If his name was drawn, he would have the great honor to enter God’s Holy Place, His sanctuary, and burn incense in the Lord’s presence.
Zechariah pulled his head covering and shawl more closely around his face, as the morning was damp and cold on this winter day. But his shivers were not just from the weather. He felt new hope and excitement this morning as he walked to the temple.
The last time Zechariah had been given the privilege to enter the Lord’s sanctuary had been 20 years ago. So long. So much time had passed, and yet he remembered it as if it were yesterday.
Those were the days when he still had hope. Hope that the Lord would answer his prayers and give he and his wife Elizabeth a baby. And hope that the promised Messiah would come during his lifetime. Both Zechariah and Elizabeth deeply loved the Lord, and sought to follow all His commandments and regulations, but Elizabeth was still barren.
Not that Elizabeth’s condition changed their hearts for the Lord, it didn’t. They still loved Him and served Him faithfully. But their burden was heavy. The community could see God was not blessing them with a child and assumed it was some secret sin in their lives that was holding back God’s hand.
Elizabeth especially, felt the shame of barrenness and had urged Zechariah on more than one occasion to divorce her and marry another woman that could give him sons, but he refused.
20 years ago, Zechariah was in his 40s, now he and his wife were in their 60s; way past the age of childbearing. All these memories made Zechariah long for a child again. Their desire for a baby had never diminished, only their hope had faded.
He thought to himself, if I am selected to go before the Lord today, I will ask Him one more time for a baby, for Elizabeth and myself. For he fully believed God could do anything He wanted. Had He not given Abraham and Sarah a child in their old age?
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, renew our hope in You O Lord. Remind us this Christmas season that you are still the God of miracles and that you care deeply for each one of us. Thank you Lord, Amen.