5 In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. 7 But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years. 8 Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. 10 Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. 11 Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. 12 When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.
“Never, never, never give up” is a quote often attributed to Winston Churchill. It sounds like good advice, though I suspect many of us think that giving up on something that is clearly unattainable is a practical and sensible thing to do.
I would modify the quote just a little to say, “Never, never, never give up praying.” Here is why.
There are so many things in this world that we cannot control; so much that we have no power over. God help us.
We can live a life of love for God, each other, our neighbors and even our enemies. This we can do.
Some commentaries suggest that Zechariah stopped praying for a child because of his and Elizabeth’s advanced age. But God heard the prayer that was in their hearts. God chose them.
We are tempted to believe that with enough determination and effort we alone can achieve whatever we desire. We need God – our hope and our salvation.
Grace and Peace,
As we enter the Advent season, we begin our wait for the coming Messiah. This year’s devotional offers a daily passage of scripture and a reflection written by a member of our congregation. I am so grateful to all those who contributed and worked on this project. It is our intention that these daily devotionals become a way to connect with our church and our Creator in meaningful ways.
I hope this devotional book becomes a part of your daily Advent celebration and study. While Advent is a time of waiting and preparation, it is also a time of change and beginning of something new. God turned the world upside down when God sent Christ into the world. So we encourage you to think of Advent as a time of comfort and joy but also a chance to see the world and God’s word anew as we wait on Emmanuel – God with us.
Associate Pastor for Christian Formation