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"There appeared to him an angel...Zechariah was
troubled when he saw him." (see Luke 1:11-12)

Did your family have a Nativity scene in the front
yard, under your tree, or on a table? I remember
staring at the angel wondering what it will be like
to see one of these beautiful creatures face-to-face.
As Luke continues his account of the first
Christmas, Zechariah the priest is in the temple.
He's laying the incense on the altar. Suddenly,
through the clouds of smoke, an angel of the Lord
appears. But for Zechariah it isn't the wonderful,
thrilling scene I imagined-not at all. The aged priest
is struck with terror, shaken to the core.
As the Christmas story unfolds, we'll see angels
appear to Mary and to the shepherds, keeping
watch over their flocks by night. And both will have
this same reaction: one of being instantly filled with
terror. You and I would be too.
No matter how good a person you are, coming
face-to-face with the holiness of an angel shows
you your failings, and fills you with dread and fear.
How much more terrifying will it be to look into God's
face when He comes with His angels in great power
and glory to judge us on the Last Day?
That's one of the truly wonderful things about
Christmas. The promised Savior did not come as a
fearsome, mighty warrior to strike fear and terror into
each of us. Instead, He came as a tiny Baby lying in
a manger. He didn't come to terrify us; He came to
take away our sin and guilt and assure us of God's
love and forgiveness
Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to
live among us and save us by Your perfect life, Your
innocent suffering and death, and Your glorious
resurrection. Calm my heart when I'm gripped with
fear, and fill me with peace and joy. Amen.
(Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

14:39 Posted in Blog | Permalink | Comments (0)



According to the custom of the priesthood, (Zechariah)
was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and
burn incense (Luke 1:9).
Luke’s account provides us rich detail regarding Zechariah
the priest and the part he played in the first Christmas.
Herod the Great was king over Judea at the time. We learn
that Zechariah belonged to the priestly division of Abijah,
one of 24 divisions of priests. Each of these divisions
worked two weeks out of the year at the Jerusalem temple.
Each afternoon these priests cast lots to see who would
enter the temple alone to burn incense.
Luke takes us to the day the lot fell to Zechariah. It may
have looked like luck or chance to us, but Zechariah knew
better. God was inviting him into His presence. As
Zechariah smelled the clouds of sweet, fragrant incense
rising to heaven, he knew God was pleased with the prayers
His people were offering to Him. These were prayers that
rose from hearts that believed His ancient promise to send
their Savior.
At Christmas we are often invited to other people’s houses.
Sometimes we get the honor of a special invitation. But God
extends a greater invitation to us. Like Zechariah we can
enter His presence in His house. And not just once in a
lifetime can we do this, but every week. At the same time
He promises to make His home in us. What a great privilege
and honor to sit in God’s presence and learn about His
saving love.
Heavenly Father, what a tremendous honor You give when
You invite us into Your house. Thank You for coming to us
and making Your home with us. In Jesus’ Name. Amen
(Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

14:03 Posted in Blog | Permalink | Comments (0)



There was a priest named Zechariah ... and he had
a wife … Elizabeth. And they were both righteous
before God … but they had no child (see Luke 1:5-7)
Christmas Eve holds a special place in my memory.
I remember my family sitting together in the living
room after the candlelight Christmas service, enjoying
a crackling fire. The only other light comes from the
Christmas tree and dozens of candles. We spent
hours passing around funny Christmas memories,
while steam rose from our coffee and hot chocolate.
Luke’s account of the first Christmas begins with an
introduction to Mary’s relative Elizabeth and her
husband Zechariah the priest. Zechariah and
Elizabeth were both good, upright people. Not that
they were good enough to earn heaven—none of us
can do that. They were good in God’s eyes because
they believed His promise to save them through the
coming Christ. They had both lived to a good old age
but were childless. In that age it was considered a
disgrace when a couple was without child. For many
long years the couple had prayed and wondered why
God had kept them from having a child. By this late
age, they had given up hope completely.
Is there something missing in your life? Something
you have prayed long and hard for but nothing
changes? Does that make you question God or
yourself? Stick around and see that God always has
a good reason, when He holds something back from us.
Lord God, sometimes life doesn’t seem to have any
rhyme or reason. I want something desperately but,
for whatever reason, You withhold it from me. Give me
patience and faith to trust that You are good, loving and
gracious, so I may wait patiently for Your time. In Jesus’
Name. Amen.
(Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

14:26 Posted in Blog | Permalink | Comments (0)

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