A Husband Speechless
Elizabeth looked out the door as she finished her afternoon chores. Her husband, Zacharias, should be home soon. He had been gone for a few days, attending to his duties as priest in the temple. She missed him when he was gone, it was so quiet... too quiet... in the empty house when he wasn't there with his quiet presence But she was proud of him, proud of his dedication to serving their Lord. She knew of other men who had cursed GOD for not providing an heir, but not her Zacharias. He loved GOD with all that he was, heir or no. Even after all these many years she had never heard him blame GOD for their failure to have children... or her for that matter. He just quietly accepted it and obeyed all that their GOD had commanded of His people. He was a blessing.
Just as she finished the last of the supper preparations, a dark shadow filled the open doorway. She looked up and saw Zacharias standing there. That was odd, usually she heard him coming, speaking to neighbors, calling her name as he drew closer to their home. She looked at him, puzzled. He seemed... different. Nothing she could place her finger on... just different. "Zacharias, my beloved, what is wrong?" He didn't speak. Fear gripped her heart and she rushed to his side. "Husband, what is it? What is troubling you? Are you in pain?" She looked him over quickly and could find no injury, but he looked shocked, scared almost. This was not like him. "should I run for the doctor?" She started for the door, but his hand held fast to her arm, and he shook his head, seeming to come back to himself. "what is it? What has happened?" She was really getting scared now.
Later she lay awake in their bed, unable to sleep, unable to calm her racing mind. After much trial and error, for he seemed unable to speak, Zacharias had finally made her understand what had happened... and more amazingly, what was going to happen. A baby. At her age. How was she to believe this??? And a visit from an angel?!?! If she didn't know the history of her people so well, know the story of Abraham and Sarah almost as well as she knew her own, she would think it a dream or hallucination. But she knew that sometimes GOD worked in ways far beyond their understanding. And she knew Zacharias wasn't one to make things up or believe silly dreams. It must be so. It must be!! She suddenly knew how Sarah had felt, and a laugh escaped her before she could stop it. A baby!!!! She was going to be a mother. All those years of praying, of believing that if GOD wanted her to have children, she would. All those years of believing that if she hadn't had them, there was a reason. And finally the sad realization that her chance was past. She was not to become a mother. And the determination that she would do whatever GOD wanted her to do to the best of her ability. HE was still her God, and she was still His child, so she would serve HIM with all that she had.
And now this.
She felt Zacharias's hand on her arm. All her thoughts came pouring out of her as she lay there with her husband. All the fears and doubts and joy that were bursting in her heart. Since he was still unable to talk, Zacharias just lay there and listened to her pour her heart out. How she yearned for his strong guidance in this, his godly advice. But his hand on her arm was comfort enough.
Months past and it soon became clear that it was true. She was to become a mother! She marveled at every little change in her body. It was all such a miracle! The first time she felt her son... for it was to be a son according to the angel... moving within her, she almost fell to her knees in amazement and joy. She wept as she thanked GOD for this amazing gift HE was giving her. She praised him over and over for the chance to serve HIM in this way. The angel had told Zacharias that their son was to prepare the way for GOD's Messiah. Her son! To serve the Lord! What an honor! What a blessing!
One day as she worked in the courtyard of their house she saw travelers approaching. Curious, she stepped closer to the road to see who it might be. She heard one of the travelers call her name, and her heart leapt, and so did the baby in her womb. It was Mary, her cousin. The baby was doing somersaults now, almost as if he was excited that Mary had arrived. She felt a rush of peace and strength come over her and her eyes widened. She knew! She looked at her cousin and knew... her young cousin would bear the Messiah. She didn't know how she knew, but it was true. She ran to embrace Mary and held her at arm's length, searching her face. "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord." She hugged her again and then Mary answered...
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;
For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
For He who is mighty has done great things for me,
And holy is His name.
And His mercy is on those who fear Him
From generation to generation.
He has shown strength with His arm;
He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
And exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
And the rich He has sent away empty.
He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.” (Luke 1:42-55)
The next few weeks were spent preparing for Elizabeth and Zacharias' son to enter the world. Elizabeth and Mary spent hours making diapers and cloths to swaddle the newborn baby that would soon join the family. Many times Elizabeth would watch Mary, who seemed lost in thought... or maybe in prayer... rubbing her now swollen belly, a small smile on her lips. Elizabeth would just sigh... Mary was in for a difficult time. She was so young, and not yet married. Just that alone put her life in danger. If her Joseph chose to, he could have her stoned for adultery. Elizabeth prayed that GOD would protect Mary and her child. Why wouldn't HE? after all, HE had a plan for not just her, but for the precious child she carried. Certainly HE wouldn't bring about this miracle, this indescribable wonder, only to have the one who was carrying the Savior of the world be stoned to death simply because people could not comprehend that she could be telling the truth about the visit from GOD's Holy Spirit. Surely HE would soften Josheph's heart to her, inspire him to consent to accept Mary as his wife, and raise the child as his own son. Surely this must be GOD's plan... but who was she to decide what GOD would do?
"One more push Elizabeth, and your baby will be here." Their son was on his way! Elizabeth gathered all the strength she had left and pushed with all her might, feeling her son slip into the world. Her body relaxed and her heart soared. He was here! The other women began the birth songs, singing and trilling and rejoicing in this wondrous addition to their world. They began to discuss what his name should be. They would of course give him a family name, a name with meaning, a strong name. Then Elizabeth heard a sweet, sweet sound. "His name is John." her head swung around to the doorway. Her beloved husband, whose voice she had not heard in many long long months, stood there with a smile on his face. His eyes met hers tenderly as he said again, "His name is John"
and so it was. And over the years they nurtured this miracle son, this child of their old age. And Elizabeth marveled at GOD's grace, that HE would chose her to bring into the world the one who would prepare the way for HIS son, for HIS Messiah. Yes, she decided. GOD is good.