waiting for Christmas
For 700 years, the nation of Israel had been waiting, Isaiah had prophesied about Him, His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, and for 700 years, nothing had changed. There were other prophecies about the Righteous Branch, the Messiah, the Deliverer that would come. For Zecheriah and Elizabeth, nothing special had happened, they were doing their duty, being faithful, not expecting anything
1. Participating in a miracle involves doing what you know you should do
5 In the time of Herod king of Judea there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly division of Abijah; his wife Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. 6 Both of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord's commandments and regulations blamelessly. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren; and they were both well along in years. 8 Once when Zechariah's division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And when the time for the burning of incense came, all the assembled worshipers were praying outside.
2. Participating in a miracle means being ready for God to speak
11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was startled and was gripped with fear. 13 But the angel said to him: "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.
When God begins to speak, when God begins to answer, the first thing He says is “Fear NOT!!”” Why shouldn’t I fear, why shouldn’t I be concerned?? Because the one who made the stars is watching over you..
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to give him the name John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth. 16 Many of the people of Israel will he bring back to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous-to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
3. Participating in a miracle means doing your particular part.
Jesus would not have been able to come if John had not been born, Zecheriah and Elizabeth had a part in the first Christmas, a very important part, but they weren’t Joseph and Mary……their participation was crucial
18 Zechariah asked the angel, "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years."
19 The angel answered, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. 20 And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their proper time."
4. Participating in a miracle means believing what God shows you
God sent no less than GABRIEL to deliver this news, but Zecheriah was too caught up in his own circumstances to believe what was going on…..he would believe, but not initially, you can always start believing.
21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.
23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 "The Lord has done this for me," she said. "In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people."
4. Participating in a miracle means giving thanks for What God has done
(from New International Version)