Good morning! Once again I'm having to type around a grouchy furball. It's a little chilly and she wants to be right here with me, but she doesn't want me to move.
Today we begin the book of Luke. I've been looking forward to this one. The bible does not tell us the time of year when Jesus was born, although some have concluded that it may have been spring or fall, because Christmas is in December, that is when we most times read or hear the account of the virgin birth from Luke. I think anytime is good to hear those words. Today, however, we are beginning in chapter one, where another baby's birth is foretold...
In the time of Herod, the king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias. He and his wife, Elisabeth, had no children because Elisabeth was barren. They were fairly old and resigned to the fact that no children would be theirs. They were good people, living by the commandments as they should.
Zacharias was doing his job as priest, near the altar of incense when an angel appeared to him. Angels weren't an every day occurrence so the old man was frightened. Gabriel, the angel, reassured him. Don't be afraid, Zacharias, he said. You and your wife Elisabeth are going to have a son, and you will name him John. There will be much rejoicing at his birth. He will be filled with the holy spirit even in the womb, and will prepare the people for the Lord.
Zacharias knew he and his wife were fairly old and probably beyond child bearing years. He doubted what Gabriel had come to tell him. Gabriel told him that all of this was true, and because of his unbelief Zacharias would be struck dumb. He would not be able to speak until after the birth of John.
Zacharias finished up his duties and set off for home. Elisabeth did conceive, and kept herself away from others for five months.
Can you imagine being older, most likely beyond child bearing years, and finding out that not only are you going to have a child, but one who is important to God's plan of salvation? That had to have given Zacharias much to think about, and Elisabeth too.