Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure of this? For I am an old man, and my wife is old as well.” The angel answered him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. And now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will be silent, unable to speak, until the day these things take place.”
~Zechariah and Gabriel, Luke 1:18-20
Zechariah had just been told of a blessing he and his wife were about to receive. He and his wife Elizabeth were childless and well advanced in age. Despite their age, God saw fit to bless them with a child. Zechariah couldn’t imagine how God would be able to bring about his promise. Because he doubted the angel’s words Zechariah was forbidden from using his words until the baby was born.
Often our doubt makes us speechless in the face of critics. The Christmas story is not a fairytale told to make us feel good. It is true, down to the smallest detail. God really did see his creation broken by sin, He really did put into action a plan to save us, He did send His son to seek and save us. He really did establish a family for us to be grafted into.
Our hope for you today is that you will never be left speechless due to your doubt. Investigate and find that God’s promise is trustworthy has been fulfilled!
John Morison wrote many beautiful hymns in his lifetime but the words of “The Race That Long in Darkness Pined” are particularly exquisite especially in light of the mission of Elizabeth and Zechariah’s promised baby. In stark contrast to the bleak description of mankind’s fallen state found in the first verse of this hymn John the Baptist was to proclaim that the Light that would pierce the darkness has arrived.
The people that in darkness sat
a glorious light have seen;
the light has shined on them who long
in shades of death have been.
To hail thee, Sun of Righteousness,
the gathering nations come;
they joy as when the reapers bear
their harvest treasures home.
For thou their burden dost remove,
and break the tyrant’s rod,
as in the day when Midian fell
before the sword of God.
For unto us a child is born,
to us a Son is given,
and on his shoulder ever rests
all power in earth and heaven.
His name shall be the Prince of Peace,
the everlasting Lord,
the Wonderful, the Counsellor,
the God by all adored.
His righteous government and power
shall over all extend;
on judgement and on justice based,
his reign shall have no end.
Lord Jesus, reign in us, we pray,
and make us thine alone,
who with the Father ever art
and Holy Spirit One.
With much love, The Downings