“And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child….” (Luke 1:6-‐7a)
Zipping through the Christmas narrative, we may easily overlook the opening players in the drama that unfolds around the Christ Child. Writing his “orderly account,” Luke first introduces us to an ordinary couple executing their normal tasks when are God Almighty invited them to play a vital role in his Son’s arrival on earth.
The Lord purposefully selected a pair of old people who had been marginalized their entire marriage with the label of “childless.” Zechariah and Elizabeth’s prayers had been unanswered all those painful years while God has orchestrated unimaginable details to ensure they would be part of the unveiling of the long-‐awaited Anointed One.
God met with this common priest as he engaged in his regular duties, faithfully fulfilling his responsibility. Together with his wife, this priest had walked blamelessly before the Lord, had obediently followed the commandments and statutes of the Lord, living night and day, year after year with acute disappointment.
Ordinary and old, blameless and barren, these two would parent John the Baptizer. Their son would “turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God…to make ready for the Lord a people prepared” (Luke 1:16-17). For this enormously important job, God took a husband and wife, broke their hearts, crushed their dreams, and when he saw fit, fulfilled their highest desire.
It might be worth our while to consider the lives of this man and woman, “advanced in years,” yet perfectly suited to carry out God’s divine orders. When we feel ordinary, when our daily activities seem routine and unglamorous, when our prayers have been unanswered, let us believe that God is at work, regardless. Let the remarkable life journey of Zechariah and Elizabeth cause us to yield our own hearts’ desires to the Savior.
Elizabeth A. Mitchell