Visited with Hope

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard..." -Luke 1:13

Nothing seemed to bring hopelessness to a home in the ancient world like childlessness. If a couple had no children, a shadow seemed to hang over the home, as though God was displeased with them.

Such was the home of Zacharias and Elizabeth, both of whom the Bible reveals as being full-hearted in their dedication and service to the Lord. Their childlessness was certainly no reflection of divine displeasure, but how could they be sure?

Somehow their plight mirrors many of us who face “barren circumstances” and wonder if we might have drifted outside the circle of divine blessing. The beauty of this text’s story (Luke 1:5–25) is how God answered their heart-cry for a child by a miraculous restoration of Elizabeth’s childbearing ability. Furthermore, their son’s birth becomes, if you will, a steppingstone to Christmas. The conception of John the Baptist in Elizabeth’s womb begins a trail of events leading to Jesus’ birth and ministry.

Answered prayers and renewal of hope… It’s Christmastime!