It seems in our world today that bad news is around every corner. Yesterday we remembered a day in history that holds some very bad news as “Just before 8 a.m. on December 7, 1941, hundreds of Japanese fighter planes attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii. The barrage lasted just two hours, but it was devastating: The Japanese managed to destroy nearly 20 American naval vessels, including eight enormous battleships, and almost 200 airplanes. More than 2,000 Americans soldiers and sailors died in the attack, and another 1,000 were wounded.” (source: history.com)
The ripple affect as people began to find out of this very bad news would surge throughout the United States. Families, devastated by the news, would wait for what seemed like forever to discover the fate of their loved ones across the seas. At that time they needed hope… just a spark of some good news that would enable them to make it one more day.
We all long to hear good news and today in our reading Zechariah hears the words he had waited for all his life, “I was sent to you to bring you this good news, [you will have a son].” As the angel delivered these words, Zechariah had difficulty believing they were true and so he was struck mute.
Being unable to communicate is probably the worst thing that could happen to someone who has just been told some good news. Zachariah must of looked like a complete lunatic as he exited the temple to the crowd that awaited him. A games of charades took place on the temple steps as his arms began to flail in the air mimicking the angel from above and then cradling an imaginary baby in his arms. We are not told whether or not the people ever got the message that he so desperately wanted them to know.
Soon enough, Elizabeth would realize the good news within her own aged body as she began to change in ways she had never felt before. The reality of morning sickness and the gentle, although sometimes strong, kicks of this life inside her as the infant John began to form.
Her response was quite different, having the ability to talk she chose to worship silently for five months before making the good news known to the rest of the community. She then found a new place of honor among her peers as she was blessed with this precious life inside.
The first baby in the storyline of Jesus’ life and ministry was soon to be born. Most of the people surrounding these characters had no idea the significance of what would be happening in their lifetime. What great news they would bring.
Just as this day brings a sobering memory of the attacks so long ago, May we likewise relish in the good news of this season that is now upon us. The events of the past can still offer us the hope needed to continue on another day. Soon a baby will born that will prepare a way for Jesus.
Thank God today for the person that prepared the way for you to know Jesus. The very thought of that person can still bring good news in your life as you reflect on the significant role they had in brining you to your relationship in Christ.
Luke 1:18-25 ESV
18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.
24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she kept herself hidden, saying, 25 “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”