In these “Christmas Thoughts” I am trying to take the characters of the Christmas story and find something of value in their part to our lives today. This has not been a difficult task. Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, has been the easiest to parallel to many of our lives today.
Zechariah along with Elizabeth, his wife, had prayed for many years that God would bless them with a child. He was a member of the “Priestly” party and had duties at the
during various seasons of the year. It
is clear to see that he was a “religious” man and played his daily part.
The problem is that they had been praying so long for a child that they had simply fallen into the trap of going through the motions while believing that God was not going to answer their prayers. This is evident with his disbelief when the angel told him that
was going to have a child.
It becomes easy for believers to fall into the same trap; to pray without belief. To go through the motions because that is what we are supposed to do. In too many pews around the world, believers have allowed their faith to be summed up by their religious activities and routines. Prayers, long spoken, have become empty and repetitious. Songs are sung with feeling or attention to the meanings. Activities are performed with heart. This leaves us living the life a child of God by simply going through the motions.
This does not say anything about our status as God’s children; just our effectiveness. This story has a wonderful ending however. Zechariah and
prayers are answered in a mighty way.
Not only would they have a child, their son would be the very person who
would herald the ripe time of the Lord.
I believe that we all would like to have the faith and energy the end of this story exemplifies and not the stale routine of the beginning. We can regain this energy by looking honestly into the manger this Christmas season. May we see more than a baby that we celebrate a birthday with; an excuse to cook, buy and party. May we see the Christ child who is the hope of the world; the one who will can bring peace on earth!