It was a day like any other day in the life-long ministry of Zacharias the priest. With Elisabeth’s goodbye kiss still warm on his cheek, he went about his business, reporting for duty in his scheduled commitment to serve in the Temple.
It was a day like no other day when the honor of entering the most holy place fell to Zacharias, and his aging eyes found the burning incense eclipsed by angel light. Startling and strange, the heavenly messenger’s words hooked unbelief, earning Zacharias a nine-month sentence of mute pondering. God’s four-hundred year silence was broken, leaving an elderly couple blinking and gasping at this new way of understanding the word impossible.
“Well stricken in years” is the delicate, traditional rendering, a state that would have made for a challenging pregnancy in any era — even if you are carrying the forerunner of the Messiah. Like a spavined barn with tar paper siding, Elisabeth’s olden frame would have been covered with skin already stretched and sagging, but with joy she bore the bone-on-bone pain of an aging back and a heavy load.
Did she understand that her glorious passage from barren to fruitful was more a rending of history than a miracle of gynecology?
It was a December day like any other. There was dog hair that needed to be vacuumed. There were lessons that needed to be prepared. There were emails unanswered and dishes unwashed. By my calculation, Advent season includes the routine preparation of at least seventy-five meals on top of all the other holiday baking and decorating.
What does it take to transform those December days?
May God’s present-day proclamation land with power on your believing heart this season:
God is with us.
Nothing shall be impossible.
Counting down the days until the beginning of the book discussion group on C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces. Watch for a reading schedule on January 5!
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