If someone asked you to tell them the story of the very first Christmas, where would you start? Most would start in the city of Nazareth when the angel, Gabriel, visited the young Mary to give her the amazing news that, though she was a virgin, she would give birth to a son who she was to name, Jesus. But this Sunday as we begin our journey at Gaylord E-Free Church in following the angels through the Christmas story, we will start our story 6-months prior to that angelic visitation in Nazareth. That's really where the story of the first Christmas begins as seen in the first chapter of Luke.
It was 6-months earlier when that same angel, Gabriel, visited a priest by the name of Zacharias while he was fulfilling his honored duty of lighting the incense in the temple in Jerusalem. This angelic visit communicated the message to Zacharias that his wife, Elizabeth, would give birth to a son that there were to name "John." This child would be "John the Baptist." I can't wait to walk our church through this story as I have learned so much in studying it and meditating on it. Between now and Sunday let me share with you just a few of the many insights you will see. Let me start with this one:
According to the first chapter of Luke, Zacharias and Elizabeth had no children because she was barren. And not only that, they were both well advanced in years - certainly beyond the years of child-bearing. Yet, God chose them. He could have picked a younger couple but He didn't. What a great example of the fact that God is not done with those in the church who we might consider "advanced in years." If you are reading this and you are in the "advanced in years" category (and willing to admit it), let me remind you that you can still be used by God. And even though you might be "advanced in years" does not mean that you are done seeing God's blessing in your life!