Let’s go on a journey to Bethlehem and take a lingering and awe-inspiring look at the Christmas story found in the Bible. This historical account of the birth of Jesus didn’t just start in Bethlehem or even in Nazareth … but it began with an older couple who knew the fulfillment of a life well-lived for God.
The Bible describes Elizabeth and Zacharias in the loveliest of ways: “They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.” (Luke 1:6)
They lived in a small hill country town north of Jerusalem, close enough to the temple that Zacharias could officiate at certain times.
Elizabeth and Zacharias had been married many years and yet still had no babies. The heartache must have been wrenching for this priest and his wife, but the Bible records they continued to walk blamelessly in every aspect of their relationship with the Lord.
How do we respond to disappointment or trial? Do we question God or use it as an excuse for over-indulgence or griping and complaining? Or… do we continue to pray, trust, praise, and serve God? Although Elizabeth and Zacharias had empty arms and dashed hopes, they continued to serve God wholeheartedly as the long years continued to pass.
The Bible says that the prayer of the righteous one avails much! (James 5:16) When you continue to live a righteous life … and continue to pray … your prayers will get the job done.
The Bible also says that the righteous live by faith (Habakkuk 2:4). Elizabeth and Zacharias continued to walk by faith and not by sight.
Elizabeth’s name actually means “God is my Oath.” Elizabeth believed the promises of God long after others would have given up in frustration. She believed that God was listening to her prayers while her friends cooed over their own babies and then years later rocked their grandchildren to sleep. Only God would have been able to allow this older woman to become pregnant.
In her sixth month, her cousin Mary came to see her because she had received word that Elizabeth was also pregnant. Mary had great faith also. Both knew that with God nothing is impossible. When she entered Elizabeth’s house, Elizabeth’s unborn son leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth confirms that Mary is pregnant with her “Lord” (verse 43). They stayed together for three months, and we may assume that Mary, a much younger woman, enjoyed the benefits of Elizabeth’s wisdom.
I hope that I can appreciate the fact that one of the first lessons we learn in the Christmas story is to be patient with God. Trust God even when your circumstances are challenging. Continue to live a righteous life through days of disappointment. Pray fervently and believe that God is listening to your prayers. Continue to embrace a positive heart attitude when you don’t get your own way.
Can we allow the loveliness of Elizabeth to remind us that true believers walk by faith and not by sight?
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.