The Advent story has many parts and today we begin with Zachariah and Elizabeth. Their story is found in Luke 1:5-11 and will continue tomorrow.
“ During the rule of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest assigned service in the regiment of Abijah. His name was Zachariah. His wife was descended from the daughters of Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth. Together they lived honorably before God, careful in keeping to the ways of the commandments and enjoying a clear conscience before God. But they were childless because Elizabeth could never conceive, and now they were quite old. It so happened that as Zachariah was carrying out his priestly duties before God, working the shift assigned to his regiment, it came his one turn in life to enter the sanctuary of God and burn incense. The congregation was gathered and praying outside the Temple at the hour of the incense offering.”
To me there are several key words in this passage that tell us a lot about Zachariah and Elizabeth. They were both descendants of Aaron and therefore in the priestly line. Zachariah worked in the temple when it was his time to serve, and he did as he was assigned. They were godly people who lived lives that were pleasing to God and kept His commandments. They were advanced in years and childless. In those days being childless you were looked down upon and it was considered shameful. Because scripture points out they were upstanding and blameless before God we know this was not due to sin on their part. God was getting ready to do a miraculous work in their lives at a time when conceiving a child would have been thought impossible and could only be attributed to God if it happened.
If your family, friends and neighbors were to scrutinize your life- work, actions, words- would they consider you godly? In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told his followers that they were to be the light of the world. Matthew 5:14-15 ““You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” Are you letting your light shine for Jesus? Do others see Jesus in your kindness, love and compassion?
As you consider Zachariah and Elizabeth, think how they must have seemed to those around them to be consider blameless and upright. Ask Jesus to empower you through His Holy Spirit to shine His light to those around you today.