Luke 1:6-17 – Barren
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.
This is one of those times of the year that some feel like, “why not me?” Couples who are unable to have children look at the celebration around them and struggle with “why not us?” People who have lost loved ones may feel like they are abandoned by God or by others. People throughout the world without access to clean water, medicine, food, shelter, love…They may feel like this leaf in my picture for today. Like something that was once connected to a greater whole and full of life, but now fallen and locked in the frozen snow on the ground. I think Elizabeth and Zechariah likely felt some of this leading up to the passage for today. Why not us? Why not hear our prayer, O God? While we cannot leave behind the feeling of being like this leaf on the ground, there is hope – life can spring from brokenness and hope from despair. We see it here – there is life that comes out of the brokenness that Elizabeth and Zechariah experienced…May you find that hope today and in this season.