Based on Luke 1:5–80.
Elizabeth observed the children as they played, and their doting mothers nearby, laughing and chatting, proud of the antics of their wee ones. She enjoyed watching these little gifts from God, in spite of her own heartache. She was long past the years of childbearing and had made peace with her lot. But every once in a while, the pain took her by surprise.
At the beginning of her marriage, there were times when she thought she might be expecting. She felt the early signs, but each time her hopes proved empty. As the years passed, she learned not to let wishful thoughts carry her away. Then she reached an age when her dream was no longer a possibility.
She tried not to let it get her down. She had many other blessings. She’d married a good man. He too was disappointed by their inability to have children, but he never chastised her or placed the finger of blame in her direction. He loved her and stood by her, and now they were growing old together.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a commotion at the door. It must be her husband returning from work. She waited for his greeting, but it never came. “Zechariah?” she called. Nothing. How odd.
She made her way to the doorway. Sure enough, her husband was home, but something was wrong. He was waving his hands and making gestures, yet no sound came from his lips. This alarmed her, but the look in his eyes calmed her fear.
She finally pieced together what had happened. Her husband had experienced an amazing event at the temple. During his priestly watch he encountered an angel! The angel told him that his prayer had been heard, that his wife would bear a son, and they were to give him the name John.
Her husband had found it difficult to believe the angel’s words, and because of his disbelief, the angel had stricken him silent.
It was a hard story to believe, yet she did. The Lord had heard their prayers!
A few months later, she began to experience the unmistakable symptoms of pregnancy. “The Lord has done this for me,” she said to all around her. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
She knew her child was special, and that confidence was confirmed when her relative Mary came for a visit. Mary too was carrying a miraculous child. At the sound of Mary’s voice, Elizabeth’s baby leaped in her womb.
Such astonishing events! What would the future hold for these little ones?
At last her son was born. Zechariah’s voice did not return and she lovingly teased that the Lord had blessed her twice: first with a child, and second with a quiet husband.
When the day came to name their son, Zechariah wrote “John” on a tablet, and immediately his tongue was loosed, and he began to speak, praising God.
Elizabeth smiled, remembering when her baby leapt in the womb at Mary’s visit. God had a special purpose for her son, and it had something to do with Mary’s unborn babe.
An excerpt from Sara's upcoming book Everyday Jesus:Ordinary Encounters with Extraordinary Jesus.
All photos courtesy of pixabay.com