Summary: How shall we keep our families ready for the return of our Savior?
Luke 1:5-22 (NIV)
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. 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. 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.” 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.” 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.
My dear friends in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Savior,
Are you ready? Sometimes when we hear those words, they continue: “Are you ready for some football?” Apparently there is some major sporting event coming up soon, involving teams from Wisconsin and Dallas. I imagine one or two of us is all ready for that game.
Are you ready? Maybe you were out shopping for Christmas over Thanksgiving or online in the last few days. If Christmas would be tomorrow, would you be ready? Nothing like throwing a little extra panic in during this holiday season. But could we be ready for Christmas even if all those things weren’t done?
Are you ready? Maybe a tree needs to be put up yet, the decorations hung, the lights strung, the parts learned, the music practiced, the cookies baked, the cards sent…
Are you ready? If we had asked that same question of Zechariah and Elizabeth, two of the people from our text for today, what would they say? “Zechariah and Elizabeth, are you ready for the birth of Christ?” Today, let’s make a comparison between how we get ready for Christmas, and how Zechariah and Elizabeth prepared for Christmas. Let’s see how the Family of Christ is Ready for His Return.
Two thousand years ago, when Zechariah and Elizabeth got ready for the first Christmas, we can see all the preparations that were made. Actually, the preparations for the first Christmas had been made thousands of years earlier. When our first parents, Adam and Eve, sinned against God, they needed a present from God. They needed forgiveness so they could live with God forever. That’s why God promised that one of their children would be their Savior. For thousands of years, people got ready for the birth of that child on the first Christmas.
No, they didn’t go shopping or send out cards. They didn’t bake cookies or set up a tree. They didn’t hang Christmas lights or even put up trees. That doesn’t mean that Zechariah and Elizabeth weren’t getting ready for the first Christmas. Zechariah was and Elizabeth got ready for Christmas by “being upright in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commandments and regulations blamelessly.” Although we are no longer required to keep all the regulations that the Lord gave to those preparing for the first Christmas, wouldn’t that be an interesting way to get ready for Christmas. Today is November 28, 2007. There are about 26 days left before Christmas. What if we each took a Catechism, and spent time on ten of the next twenty-six days before Christmas thinking about one commandment a day?