The Christmas Angels Ė Part 1 CCCH 12-5-99


ILLUS Ė Itís about this time of year that I think about watching my favorite movie again, Itís a Wonderful Life. And I picture poor George Bailey standing in the snow without a coat on that bridge in Bedford Falls thinking about ending it all. Life hadnít quite turned out the way George thought it would. Now that the building and loan was flat broke it seemed like he was up against an impossible situation with no way out.

And George Bailey reminds me that Christmas comes at a time of year when without question, someone somewhere will be up against a seemingly impossible situation with no way out. Maybe this year, itís you.

A. As we read all the way back in history to the story of the angelís visit to Zechariah itís important to remember that even though times and cultures may change, Godís character remains the same.

Thatís good. Because the angel saysÖ
B. THESIS: We can count on God to breathe hope into the stale air of impossible situations.

TRANSITION: In the angelís message to Zechariah we find two rays of hope. First of allÖ


A. Zechariah and Elizabeth were facing the impossible situation of being childless late in life.

To be childless in those days often brought a lot of shame and sorrow to a couple.

1. Some Jews at that time did not believe in a bodily resurrection, so their hope of immortality was in their children. In addition, children cared for their parents in their old age and added to the familyís financial security and social status. Children were considered a blessing, and childlessness was seen as a curse. (Life Application Bible note on Luke 1:25)

2. Elizabeth even called her childlessness ďa disgrace among the peopleĒ (Luke 1:25).

3. Some surely would have thought that their lack of an heir was the result of sin.

4. But Luke shows us this wasnít the case: ďBoth of them were upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lordís commandments and regulations blamelessly.Ē (Luke 1:6)

These 2 righteous people have lived with the deep disappointment of never having the child they longed for. And now they are well along in years Ė past the age of being able to have children. Humiliated and hopeless.

People talk about Z and E being nice people Ė but there must be some sin in their life. Who will take care of us when we are old?

B. God uses the climactic moment in Zechariahís career as a priest to make His move.

1. As one of nearly 20,000 Jewish priests, Zechariah served at the temple in Jerusalem for two one-week periods each year.

2. A priest could offer the incense at the daily sacrifice only once in his lifetime. Today was Zechariahís day! (Read v. 9-10)

Smoke of the incense symbolized prayers going to heaven. People were praying. Zechariah was undoubtedly praying. (In the temple alone. Before the God he had faithfully served, but now
Boyd Shugert
November 25, 2009
we all need more hope...thanks for helping me to share it.
Susan Rogutski
November 27, 2006
Great message! One central point; good Scritural exegesis, powerful illustrations. I get the "hopeful" point...your congregation will too!