Starting today we will begin to look at the characters that begin to make an appearance prior, and during the first few years of Jesus’ life. as we approach our celebration of his birth. It is my prayer that the reality of each of these individuals will cause us to remember that it is the God we serve that makes the miraculous possible, not our abilities, assets, or efforts.
A great way to include your entire family in the story of the nativity is to allow each of them to represent a person who would have been at the nativity, and tell the story of how they came to be there. For those of us who might be sticklers on the timeline of the Wise men, you can always move them far away and allow whichever child represents them to note the time gap in their travel, after Jesus birth. Small hands love to handle things, so if your nativity can withstand some touching let’s make that happen as well.
In Luke’s telling of Jesus’ birth the first person we meet is Zechariah. The priest Zechariah. The priest chosen to burn incense in one of the highest honors of the priestly family. The priest who met an angel inside the Temple. The priest who told the angel he had it wrong, there was a better – or at least another – way. The priest who subsequently didn’t talk for 9 months.
Zechariah loved God. Zechariah served God. Zechariah was not ready for God to act outside of his context and his comfort. Yes, he wanted a child, but at that point in his life Zechariah is probably thinking about a shore side villa. Now I know to some that might sound a little sacrilege, but how would you respond if an angel met you today and told you that the dream you had prayed for last 20 years ago would be granted today.
Are you too busy for your dreams from 20 years ago? Are you too tired from your desires of the past? Are you too cynical for those past desire and dreams to be put to work? Zechariah had this to say when the angel told him something miraculous.
- Really? If you were really from God, you would have arrived on my timeline.
- Seriously? I just bought a pair of matching donkeys for Elizabeth and I. These donkeys won’t pull a cart and I’ll lose equity trading them in.
- I’m old, to old.
Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.” NIV
Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know if this is so? I am an old man, and my wife is old also.” Good News Bible
And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. KJV
Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” New Living Translation
Zachariah said to the angel, “Do you expect me to believe this? I’m an old man and my wife is an old woman.” The Message
God was looking for a ‘yes’. Zechariah wanted to know why his plan had to change.
I have the potential to meet Zechariah’s skepticism. Later. A better time. When I’m not doing as much. When I’m doing more. When there are more people. When there are less people. Most of us would never say that we are to busy for God, but we often are to busy and distracted for God’s messengers. Say ‘yes’ to God’s work and God is constantly working.