It’s Christmas … the most wonderful time of the year!
This season is miraculously wonderful not because of the scrumptious and sugary holiday cookies nor is it due to the lavish gifts found under the Christmas tree.
Christmas is not defined by the reindeer who dance or by the shoppers who spend.
Christmas is not “Christmas” because of decorations, or due to parties or even because of the chestnuts that you might find roasting by an open fire.
Christmas is wonderful because of Him ... because of a Baby that was born long ago and yet continues to live on in the hearts and lives of millions of people who serve Him and love Him.
The historical account of the birth of Jesus didn’t start in Bethlehem or even in Nazareth but it began with an elderly couple who knew the deep fulfillment of living wholeheartedly for God.
The Bible describes Elizabeth and Zacharias in the loveliest of ways: “They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.” — Luke 1:6.
Elizabeth and Zacharias had been married for many years and yet still had no babies. The heartache must have been wrenching for this man of prayer and for his Godly wife, but the Bible records they continued to walk blamelessly in every aspect of their relationship to the Lord.
For the priest Zacharias and for his faithful wife, Elizabeth, there had been no 3 a.m. feedings, no messy diapers and no sweet giggles and baby smiles. Their life had not turned out in the manner that they had hoped for or prayed for.
Disappointment is part of all of our lives, isn’t it? Disappointment is an inescapable treaty of the human experience.
How do you respond to disappointment? Do you use it as an excuse for over-indulgence or for griping and complaining?
Although Elizabeth and Zacharias had empty arms and dashed hopes, they continued to serve God wholeheartedly as the years continued to pass.
The Bible says that the prayer of the righteous one avail much! (James 5:16)
When you continue to live a righteous life and continue to pray in spite of your human disappointment, your prayers will still get the job done! Just ask Elizabeth and Zacharias …
The Bible also says that the righteous live by faith. (Hebrews 2:4)
Elizabeth’s name actually means “God is my oath”. Elizabeth believed the promises of God long after others would have given up in frustration. She believed that God was listening to her prayers while her friends cooed over their own babies and then decades later when her circle of friends experienced the joy of rocking their grandchildren to sleep.
We can learn from Elizabeth and Zacharias to trust God even when circumstances are challenging. We are reminded, by the story of this elderly couple, to live a righteous life through long days of disappointment.
Pray fervently and believe that God is listening to your prayers. Continue to embrace a positive heart attitude even when you don’t get your own way.
Pray on, my friend, pray on!
Allow the steadfastness of Elizabeth to remind you that true believers walk by faith and not by sight. Although she was barren, she continued to believe in the promises and in the nature of a faithful and miracle-working God.
Zacharias was chosen to be the priest who would enter the holy place in the Temple: it was his turn to offer incense to God on behalf of the people.
However, as Zacharias was standing beside the altar of incense, he received a surprise visitor! The angel Gabriel had been sent from heaven to bring a life-changing message to the elderly Zacharias and Elizabeth.
“Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard,” were the words of the heavenly messenger at this history- changing moment.
God had been silent for 400 years and at this very instant, Zacharias heard the audible answer for which he and his wife had been praying since the day of their marriage many, many years ago.
After all of the years of waiting and praying and believing, heaven’s intervention was about to be experienced in the life and marriage of Elizabeth and Zacharias.
Could it be true?
Was it even possible after decades of marriage that they would conceive and bear a child?
I wonder if Zacharias wondered if Elizabeth’s elderly frame be able to withstand 9 arduous months of pregnancy and then the pain of giving birth?
I wonder if Zacharias’ heart was joyously asking, “God, are you really this good?!”
It is true: the God of Elizabeth and Zacharias absolutely hears your prayers! He is listening intently to your requests and loves it when a believer comes to him boldly and unashamedly.
The Bible instructs Christians from every generation to ask and keep on asking, seek and keep right on seeking, knock and keep on knocking! (Matthew 7:7)
Don’t give up, my friend, don’t ever give up!
The message of Christmas speaks into our silent world today: we serve a God Who answers the prayers of his children.
While you wait, and while you pray, don’t ever give up!
Wait in faith and pray in hopeful expectation.
May I ask you a question this Christmas season?
For what have you been praying?
Perhaps you are praying for an unsaved spouse or for a rebellious child. Maybe your fervent prayer is for a breakthrough in finances or it might be that health concerns have dominated your prayers for years and years.
My friend, you need to follow the example of Elizabeth and Zacharias and continue to pray with expectation and with hope!
It might seem like you haven’t heard from God in 400 years but the answer and the voice of God might only be one more prayer away.
Christmas is a time when we should expect heaven’s entrance into our dusty, dirty worlds.
Christmas is a time that reminds us that miracles really do happen, that prayers are actually answered and that heaven is just one response away.
You honor God when you ask of him the impossible!
I believe that “Impossible” is what the God of Christmas does best!
Thanks for listening to my heart this week. As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me. And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!
This blog was taken from Carol’s new devotional, “Let There Be Joy!” You can order this devotional at Amazon.com or on our website.