God uses the ordinary.
Luke 1: 8-9
“Once when Zechariah’s division was on duty and he was serving as priest before God, 9 he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense.”
Yesterday I was alarmed that already at the beginning of November Costa are selling their Christmas coffee. I opened my eyes a little more as I walked around the town and realised that Christmas is definitely coming soon. Though I think it ridiculous that the UK are already bombarded with the urgent message of getting ready for Christmas, I also know my friends in the Philippines have been singing Christmas songs in their shopping malls since September!
But I do acknowledge we need to be ready.
Let’s look at God’s preparation for Christmas.
In the time of an evil king who had not accomplished anything to note, whose Temple rebuilding programme had already taken 16 years and would have another 30 years to complete; in the time of having gone through 400 forgotten, silent years of no revelation from heaven, let us announce something good is about to happen, “I think the conditions are just perfect for me to come.”
God will move into His world at a time that He decides not us. God will answer a cry when He decides not the person who calls. But the way you conduct yourself will be instrumental in you receiving His good will and purpose for your life and in you being instrumental for the will of God in other people’s lives.
To the faithful you show yourself faithful. 2 Samuel 22:26
Luke has commenced his gospel with a married couple, old in years, but who knew how to do the right thing. Little did they know they would be the parents of the one who was to prepare the way for the Messiah.
Zechariah was chosen that day to burn incense. In the temple he would sprinkle frankincense on the fiery coals and a fragrant cloud would rise. He would prostrate himself on the floor and pray for the peace of Israel and give thanks for previous blessings. He had studied how to do this though this was most probably his first time.
It was a special day for him. He was just a priest, not a High Priest, just an ordinary one and yet the dice rolled in his favour apparently because out of at least 20,000 other priests he had been chosen. Luck? Miracle? Or indeed chosen?
For decades, Zechariah served God in a way which was ordinary, yet he did the right thing. He and his wife had a social stigma, they were childless. But their silent God did not prevent their commitment to Him. Their God was far more than what He could give them.
Zechariah and Elizabeth were indeed ideally placed for God’s preparation of Christmas.