Wednesday, December 7th. Luke 1:5-17

In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.

Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Luke 1:5-17

This year in our midweek Advent services I am focused on joining some of the key characters in Luke’s telling of the birth of Jesus.  Last week, I thought about this season through the eyes of Zechariah (click here to see how that went.)  Today, Joseph.  Next week, the innkeeper.  And the last week, a shepherd.

We come to Zechariah and we instantly make the Old Testament connections.  The continuing theme of “this couple is too old” or “this woman is too barren” but then God does a new thing and a special child is born to them.  We remember angelic visitations or the surprising voice of God showing up to provide guidance or a new calling.

We see all of that and it is interesting and it is the kind of stuff that Luke expects us to see.  But this year, in having fun with Zechariah, it ocurred to me that – though he was old and the odds weren’t good – perhaps Zechariah (whose name means “God remembers”) still clung to the hope that God would remember him and Elizabeth, that God would still remember God’s people.  Perhaps Zechariah never quit dreaming of what God might yet do.

Most of the people who attend our midweek services are of the “seasoned citizen” generation.  They have been faithful for a long long time.  They are the backbone of our ministry.  Just think of all they have been through.  Think of all the changes that have swept across our world, changes that affect every aspect of our lives.  Think of all that has happened in their families, in their extended families.  Think of the dreams they had as young people and how many of them have been realized, how many dashed, and how many surprises along the way.

Imagine what today, December 7th, means to a generation of people whose best friends from high school were at Pearl Harbor, or at the Army recruiting office within a week of this date that will live in infamy.

Then re-enter this story about with Zechariah.  He enters a holy space for a holy purpose.  He has no idea the news he will soon receive, let alone the sea change about to come to the life he shares with Elizabeth.  No wonder he was rendered speechless!

Do we still dream big dreams?  Do we still anticipate God doing new and wonderful things?  Are we open to the possibility that God has dreams for our lives and that one day those dreams might come rushing in, upsetting the apple carts of our well laid plans?

These are Advent questions.

Let us pray:  Dear Lord, to dream is to see hope where there seems to be no ground for hope.  To dream is to see what could be, what might be, even what ought to be.  We pray that you gift us with dreams, with visions, of what you would do for, and through, us.  May we never stop dreaming.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.



2 Responses to “Wednesday, December 7th. Luke 1:5-17”

  1. Mary Says:

    This is for the benefit of your younger readers. I am 65. Just when I think God is done with my assignments here, He pops up on me and gives me another project. I love it.

  2. Mary Says:

    I am humbled to think that yesterday went by without a thought about Pearl Harbor. God Bless all the men & women who remember that day. I hope that in 50 years, well meaning 40 year olds don’t forget about September 11 just as easily. I suppose that happens when we are secure in the safety of our nation.

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