There are some stories in the Bible that are captured in just few verses, yet can’t be ignored because they are so inspiring. Actually, thinking about it now, this doesn’t just happen with short stories that are captured in few verses. It is interesting how the Holy Spirit can take a verse, a sentence or just a phrase from the Bible and make it so life transforming.
Few hours before writing this post, I read the story of Christmas in Matthew and Luke. As I read the story of Christmas according to the account of Luke, I couldn’t get past the very popular backstory that introduced the birth of Jesus. A story captured in just few verses of the Bible. The story of Zachariah, Elizabeth and the promise of their son, John, who later became John the Baptizer. Interestingly, their story ties with my focus for this year’s Christmas. Particularly, Zachariah’s response to Angel Gabriel’s promise. So, let me share my focus for this year’s Christmas.
Gabriel, an angel, appears to Zach and says,
“…your petition was heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you must call his name John…” Luke 1:13
Gabriel also explains all John is destined to do in life. Zach’s response to all of these?
“By what shall I know and be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years.” Luke 1:18
You know what I thought was funny? How Gabriel got angry with Zach for asking and questioning what he couldn’t understand. Gabriel, really? Do you know how it feels to be human? Buddy, you’re in heaven, we humans aren’t. You get to experience all of the glory and majesty of God that isn’t visible to man, we don’t. Few verses ago, before you showed up in this story, we are informed that Zach and Eli were righteous in the sight of God and worked blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord, yet had no child. Why? Why was Eli barren? Why? They wanted children. They didn’t just want children, they prayed for children. If God heard their petition, as you confirmed He did, why did it take so long? Again, unlike you dear Gabriel, we aren’t in heaven, and we can’t understand all of these. We don’t have answers to questions like these. Moreover, these feelings are as real as real can be. Zach’s response shouldn’t get you angry. You don’t know what it takes to be human, so you can’t really understand.
Have you ever sounded like I just did? Maybe not to Angel Gabriel, but to God. Like really let God know that He shouldn’t really blame us when we can’t understand because we aren’t like Him. We don’t have His supreme knowledge, so comprehending and dealing with some issues can really be hard.
Your issue with Gabriel isn’t valid because God is God and should be trusted, regardless. Besides, Zach knew about his forefather, Abraham, his wife, Sarah and their son Isaac, who was born when his parents were “well advanced in years.”
Then again, even if my issue with Gabriel was valid, it wouldn’t be anymore because the birth of Jesus fixed it.
Jesus became man. He came to this world, not like Adam, but as a child, just like you. A woman conceived Him in her womb, just like you. He stayed in the womb, just like you. Like your mother, His mother gave birth to Him. Like you, He had His first cry. What a God. He chose to experience ALL we are experiencing as humans.
Oh, Christmas! What a Joy you bring!
What a Joy, indeed. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus this year, submerge yourself in GREAT JOY because we serve a God Who came into this world, the same way we came. Get excited because He understands your laughter and tears, your hopes and dreams, your highs and lows and so much more. Yes, He understands it ALL. Not just because He is the Almighty God but also because He was just like you. He can be trusted. Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a High Priest Who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but was in all point tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (NKJV) I love the way The Passion Translation puts it, “He understands humanity, for as a man our magnificent King-Priest was tempted in every way just as we are…” He understands the limitations and struggles that come with being human, and that should be a key ingredient that boots our confidence in Jesus. This confidence should shroud us with GREAT JOY, even as we celebrate Christmas.
My prayer for you and me:
May the Joy of Christmas be real in our lives, and may we never lose that Joy, no matter what. Amen.
Do have a beautiful Christmas, and a blessed New Year.
Also, eat and drink all you want, but Stay Spiritually Fit.