Ready for Christmas

Are You Ready for Christmas?
 
Luke 1:5-25
 
 

Luke begins the account by telling us that Zechariah lived in the time of Herod the Great. Herod was placed on the throne not by royal succession as a descendant of David; rather Herod was on the throne because the Romans had appointed him a puppet king. Not only was he a puppet king for Rome, Herod had no religious convictions and so the act of worship in that day had become an empty form of rituals and ceremonies with very little meaning to the people of God.

Yet in the midst of this spiritual darkness, there were a group of priests devoted to God who longed for the coming Messiah. Zechariah was one of those priests. Zechariah was described as upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.

Still, there was a problem, he and his wife were childless. In the OT to be without children was viewed as a sign of God’s displeasure. Every Jewish family had hoped for a son who would be the deliverer, the Messiah King. So, to be childless meant you were out of God’s divine plan. Not only were they childless, verses 7 tells us they were both well along in years – childbirth opportunities had passed them by.

Despite their disappointments, they faithfully served God. They were barren, outside of God’s plan, but they never succumbed to bitterness. Our pain may not be the absence of children, but there are many things that bring disappointments to our life…
 

God never guarantees a life without pain or disappointments. When life hits us with disappointments we have two options, we can become bitter or we can become better.

Bitterness brings forth anger and frustration robbing us of the joy of life, but we can become better by trusting and depending on God to find our fulfillment.

Though Zechariah was disappointed he was not bitter – he remained faithful in spite of circumstances. This Christmas you can be prepared for the season if you will focus on God and not your circumstances, focusing on God will make us better, focusing on circumstances can make us bitter. Because Zechariah focused on God an amazing thing happened.
 

When the angel appeared, Zechariah was faced with many emotions. Obviously, he was afraid. Wouldn’t you be? It was believed of the OT if you saw God you would die. He had lived for the moment of leading in worship, and now he is afraid he is about to die. But the angel tells him not to be afraid.

Why? – His prayers had been answered. Imagine the faith of this man, his wife is barren, they are long past the age of having children, but he continues to pray. Maybe he recalled the story of Abraham – even in his age, God gave him a son – Isaac.

Zechariah knew what people of faith know,  God is not bound by circumstances.
 

When God finds people who are committed to Him, he is ready to unleash the power of heaven to accomplish his purpose. That is exactly what He was doing with Zechariah. Here was a man who sought to be blameless, upright and keeping all of God’s commandments and how is he rewarded? your prayer has been heard.

Important thing to remember: Zechariah was rewarded on God’s timetable.
 
This year as you prepare for Christmas, I hope you will seek out the greatest gift, and friends you will not find it in a department store or under a tree rather the greatest gift is to seek God this Christmas. He is waiting to listen to you!
 
A quick lesson to be learned – Unbelief always carries with it serious consequences. Because Zechariah refused to believe, the angel silenced him for nine months, he was speechless.
 

What does the account of Zechariah and Elizabeth teach us about preparing for Christmas this year?

Circumstances do not determine our faithfulness.

Circumstances are not a sign of God’s displeasure with you.

God is faithful regardless of the circumstances.

 

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