Summary: Advent is about preparing for the arrival of Jesus. One couple in the bible was charged with the task of preparing for God’s arrival. But it meant they would begin again.
December 2, 2007
This morning we are going to begin our advent series, “Rediscover Christmas!” As we prepare for the arrival of the Messiah of Christ of Jesus, this is a season of preparation. It is the season of getting ready for the coming of Christ both in remembrance as a babe in a manger but also with great anticipation when Christ comes again.
So let’s rediscover what Christmas is truly about. In the midst of all the chaos and the parties and the decorations and shopping, let us take time to reflect on what the season is really about. Let us take time to truly worship with a new found wonder of this season. And it begins before the beginning with a couple that is going to have a new start, a new beginning. They are going to begin again. Turn to Luke 1:5. It is the story that was read earlier in the service.
As you find your place, I’ve been showing some sometimes funny and interesting pictures. This one is bound to make you smile. It is a one in a million shot (if not one in a billion). There was no title to this but I call it, “God’s Smile.”
Before they began again…
• They were disgraced
In the culture, children were a sign of God’s favor. If you had no children then God didn’t really love you. And it was often assumed that there was some deep sin either in their lives or in their parent’s lives. “He has taken away my disgrace.” Even though Zec was a priest, he was disgraced. They both were.
• They remained obedient
Yet they remained obedient. They kept the commands and the rule and the regulations and they didn’t let it go to their heads. The impression here is that they lived simply and unassumingly. “Together they lived honorably before God, careful in keeping to the ways of the commandments and enjoying a clear conscience before God.”
• They were old school
They were both well beyond the years of having children. There really was no hope for them. Just like Abraham and Sarah. In fact, Luke is very intentional about using Zec and Lizzy’s story to show the connection to Abe. Just as the nation of Israel begin with this birth, a new Israel was being born through this wondrous sign.
Now we don’t know for certain how old Zec and Lizzy were. The scripture doesn’t say. Sometimes we say that they were 100 but the scriptures only say Abraham was 100 when Isaac was born. Zec and Lizzy were just well along in years. Can you imagine? Can you imagine starting your family when your supposed to be retiring? Could you imagine being sixty years old with two artificial knees and just now starting to raise kids?
“What was that honey?”
“I didn’t say anything.”
“Better check. Maybe that was Johnny crying.”
“What did I come in here for? Oh, the baby.”
Can you imagine chasing around little Mason or little Melody except you’re forty years older? Then I begin to wonder some other things… Did Elizabeth really breast feed? Maybe that is why John had such a bizarre diet when he was grown.
Here were Zec and Lizzy beginning… again! It was like starting over again. And that is exactly what God was trying to show us. It was a new beginning. It was a fresh start for Israel. With the coming of Jesus it is a fresh start for each of us.
Then Zec gets an incredible honor. He is called upon to burn the incense in the temple. And it was in there that an angel appeared to inform Zec that God has heard their cries and heard the cries of his people and that he and Lizzy would bear a child that would pave the way for God!
But Zec doesn’t quite believe it. Maybe he was just too hard headed. Maybe he was too much in shock but he goes and asks the angel, “How could this be?” Because he doubted and because he didn’t really believe that all things are possible with God, he lost his voice. And we are not talking about laryngitis. He couldn’t speak for about nine months!! The people outside the temple were getting kind of worried because Zec was taking too long. They probably were thinking this old man might have keeled over dead. They probably thought that God killed him and God was going to be unhappy with them for sending Zec in when everyone knew that there was something dreadfully wrong since he had no children.
But Zec came out and they figured out through a game of charades that he had had a vision. Zec was beginning again.