And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous — to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. Luke 1:17 (Full context: Luke 1:5-25)
Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were both born into priestly families. They were childless and very old. Although they had both lived good Godly lives and prayed for a child still Elizabeth was barren.
Zechariah was serving as priest and burning incense in the temple when the angel, Gabriel appeared, standing by the altar, bringing wonderful news. Their prayers were to be answered. They would have a son and he would be filled with the Holy Spirit from birth. They were to name him John and he would go before and prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. Zechariah was doubtful - they were too old. He didn't think about how God had given Abraham and Sarah a son in their old age. God did not change His plan, instead Zechariah lost his ability to speak until his son was born.
Imagine their joy when they learned that Elizabeth was pregnant. She remained in seclusion for five months and then Mary came for a visit. Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and said "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear! But why am I so favored that the mother of my Lord should come to me. As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leapt for joy." After their son was born everyone expected that he would be named after his father, but Zechariah wrote “no, his name is John". Immediately his mouth was opened and he was able to speak.
God’s timing is always right. If we need to wait, like Zechariah, for the answer to our prayers, may God give us patience. Praying we will feel hope, love, joy and peace as we celebrate the coming of our Lord.
Ornament Credit: Betty Davis