Like most of us, my mind has been on the Christmas story in recent days. Maybe more this year than any other year, because I'm determined to have Madison know that Christmas is about Jesus birthday... not the chubby guy in the red suit, or the presents wrapped and sitting on top on my kitchen cabinets. It's a weird place for presents, I know! No room elsewhere, there are cute up there, no little hands can mess them up, etc. And it is a painful reminder of how badly I need to dust up there!.
When I was reading through Luke 1 & 2, for some reason, Zacharias and Elisabeth kept grabbing my attention.
Luke 1: 6 "And they (referring to Zacharias and Elisabeth) were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless."
Wowzers. What a way to be described! Can you think of any Christian of whom it can be said is "righteous before God" and "walking in all the commandments and ordinances"? That's incredible. I can think of one person maybe... and they would be embarrassed if I mentioned their name so I won't. If you think I'm thinking of you, you're wrong. ;) You also just lost the Most Humble Christian award. ;)
But really, they had pretty amazing testimonies. I think it's safe to say that they were "good Christians"... I put that in parenthesis because I don't really like that term. But you know what I mean by it, hopefully. The Bible says that they served God with all their lives.
And yet, despite being "good Christians", there is something about them so relatable. We read in verse 18 that Zacharias did not initially believe the angel when he was told that in his old age, he would have a son. This good, godly man had a temporarily lapse in faith.
I don't why we are happy when we see the faults in people we admire! It's kind of a sick way about us, isn't it!? I suppose we just like knowing that they are indeed human... just like us. The truth is we're not supposed to compare ourselves to each other but only to Christ. However, seems like we are usually just a little glad when "Mr. Punctuality" occasionally shows up 30 seconds late, or when Martha Stewart burns the cookies or something like that!
Probably most of us would doubt that such a thing as having a baby in post-childbearing years, after a lifetime of infertility. But then again, I've never had a conversation with an angel.
Faith seems to be one those things that needs constant maintenance. At times in my life, I thought my faith was pretty solid... unshakable, even. Maybe it sounds prideful to say, but there were times when I thought if there was one thing I had down in this Christianity thing, it was believing God. For me, the realization that my faith was not all that I thought it to be was becoming a mother. Well, to be more exact, in my journey to becoming a mother. That would be big long post on a completely different subject, but in a nutshell we lost our first two babies and it was hard. Hard physically, hard emotionally and hard spiritually. I honestly did not get mad at God or even demand to know why... like I said, it would be a very long post to convey what made that particular experience a spiritually turbulent time. My point in bringing it up is that I became aware of the fact that faith was not something I could obtain once and then just have all my life. The faith that was in abundance as a teenager and as a college student was not sufficient for my entire adult life. I need new faith for every day. And the good news is that God is all to happy to supply what we need, for each stage of life, for each day and each hour.
I'm sure that Zacharias really was a man of great faith. I believe that because a person does not live as he did... blameless and righteous before God... without the faith to know that God is good, and right, and real. At that particular moment when Gabriel told him that his prayer for a child would be granted, the faith that had held him close to the Lord and His ways for so many years wasn't enough. He needed new faith for that very day.
And the story continues with Zacharias being mute until after John's birth. I shared this story with my Sunday School class yesterday and I told them that I bet Zacharias never doubted another thing that an angel of God told him ever again! My lesson for my class was actually about the fact that Zacharias and Elisabeth did what was unpopular and against the norm at the time in order to obey what God wanted. They named their baby boy John instead of a family name, as was tradition. It's hard for people, especially teens, to do what isn't socially typical and be frowned by friends and even family in order to obey God. But this couple did right no matter what people thought of them. Since we had two visitors in class, I took my lesson to the reason WHY Jesus was born in the first place: to die on Calvary. Two young ladies accepted Christ as Saviour!! Praise the Lord!
So as we edge closer and closer to Christmas day, I'm thankful for so many things, not the least of which is a God in whom I can rest my faith in completely.