Dec 23, 2019 • Written by Rachel Boulos
The Miracle of Christmas
It’s impossible. It will never happen. I’m too broken.
If your holiday season feels like this, you’re not alone. In fact, this was the prequel to Christmas; it’s how the story began.
Before Mary and Joseph, there lived another couple in the hills of Judah- often overlooked yet just as significant.
“…there was a priest named Zacharias…and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments of the Lord. But they had no child…and they were both advanced in years” (Luke 1:5-7).
From the very beginning, Luke goes to great lengths to tell us three important things about this couple. First, Zacharias was a priest, meaning he was part of the highest class of society whose life purpose was to serve God in the temple. Second, Elizabeth was a woman of highest reputation (Lev 21:13-15), also being from a priestly line herself. Third, the couple loved God with all their heart and spent their entire lives following Him and doing what was right.
They were childless. When other women were throwing baby showers, birthday parties, and talking about nursery decor, Elizabeth was silent. While others held their babies, her arms remained empty. When other men boasted about their boys, Zacharias had no one to carry the family name. No baby to snuggle, no child to train, no little voice to fill the home.
Did their hope start to falter? Did they think “maybe this year” only to watch the years pass them by? At what point did their possible become impossible when they realized their dream for a child was no longer within reach?
And what did the neighbors say? Were there quiet whispers in the streets when they passed by? In their society, their barrenness would have led others to believe there must be something wrong with them. What sin or secret were they hiding? Did their shame and stigma make them wonder if God had rejected them?
Here Luke addresses one of the deepest questions we face when God silently withholds a blessing:
What’s wrong with us?
But God’s blessing is not a direct result of our behavior, good or bad. The Bible makes it clear that this couple did everything right (Luke 1:6). They were faithful. They were righteous. They served God their entire lives. Yet they still failed to see their greatest desire come to pass.
Sometimes, for reasons we don’t understand, God withholds what is good in order to do something greater in our lives.
When they were too old,
When all hope seemed lost,
When their time had passed,
When their dream had died,
When they could no longer do it on their own,
When there was no chance,
When it was impossible,
God showed up.
In the eleventh-hour, God did the impossible. He had not forgotten them. Instead, He waited to act until there was no possible chance of deliverance so that His power, love, and grace would be on display for everyone to see (Luke 1:65-66).
Not only did He give the couple their heart’s desire, but He created their child for a greater purpose than either of them could have imagined (Luke 1:13-17). The child they longed for all their lives became the fulfillment of a 400 year old prophecy. It was their child who would prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah. Their child- John the Baptist.
Impossible is God’s specialty. A barren couple. A virgin birth. An outsider from Nazareth. A little town called Bethlehem. A group of lowly shepherds. A leftover room. A manger bed. God Himself, Immanuel, came in the form of a man and dwelt among us.
The magic of Christmas is in the miracles.
God’s entire story from beginning to end is about the impossible made possible. The miracle of Christmas is that when all seems lost, God turns darkness into light, despair into hope, and death into life.
What area of your life feels impossible to change? What hope have you given up on?
Let Christmas remind you that our God pulls off the impossible. When all hope seems lost, He still delivers. When life overwhelms, Jesus saves. May the miracles of Christmas encourage you to wait on God to act, for nothing is too difficult for Him (Gen 18:14, Isa 50:3, Matt 19:26).