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The Christmas story does not begin in the New Testament of the Bible.
It actually began in the Old Testament beginning with Genesis when the word was with God and we read that the word was Jesus.
Then it moves to the book where we find ‘Zechariah and Elizabeth’… as a few of the first key players.
Think of it as act one, in a stage play where the first scene builds to the second and the second builds to the third till the full story is told.
In Luke 1:7 it tells us about Zechariah and how he was a tribal priest and was honored for the ‘first time,’ at a very old age to go into the temple and burn incense.
This was a very formal and special occasion and he had waited for many years to be asked to do this.
[When he went into the temple he was praying and an angel showed up right next to him. (can you imagine?)
When Zechariah saw him he was startled, and gripped with fear.
But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.
(Remember he is a very old man at this time.)
Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you shall call him John.
He will be a joy and a delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.]
Elizabeth was a relative of Mary, and John would be like a cousin born before Jesus but paving the way for his ministry.
This was told and spoken before either of them were born.
He was an important player to the story of Jesus… and his birth.
As we continue to read this story:
[Zechariah had doubts and asked the angel. “how can this be? how can I be sure?”]
I think that was a logical question to ask, for they were both beyond the age of ‘child bearing.’
[The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, I have been sent to you to speak to you and tell you this good news.
And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.]
Everything was ordained and orchestrated in order for the story to be told.
God had it planned, He knew when the time was to take place and HE was preparing the way.
What we have read, is this: Nothing is without a plan or reason.
The Christmas story had many players and each one had to be; ‘chosen, set aside and spoken to, in order for the story to be completed.’
Let us continue to see how God in His wisdom creates the Christmas Story.