Read Genesis 18:1-2, 9-15. TEXT: And Zechariah said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years" (Luke 1:18).
The angel has given Zechariah tremendous news. He should be overjoyed, unable to contain his delighted laughter. Instead, filled with disbelief and skepticism he mutters, "How shall I know this?"
Surely the priest remembers-or at least he ought to remember-that this isn't the first time God promised a baby to a childless, elderly couple. Abraham and Sarah-the father and mother of the Jewish people-had received a similar promise when he was 75 (see Genesis 12:4), and she was 65. They had to wait another 25 years before God's promise was fulfilled-but in time it was fulfilled. In fact, the baby's name Isaac meant "laughter" because Sarah had laughed with disbelief at God's promise (see Genesis 18:12).
The pages of the Old Testament boldly testified to Zechariah of God's mighty power to bring life from a dead womb. Numerous couples-previously childless-miraculously became parents of special children who played extremely important roles for God's people: Jacob and Rachel had Joseph; Elkanah and Hannah had Samuel; Manoah and his unnamed wife had Samson. Zechariah and Elizabeth's son would play an even more important role-ushering in the ministry of God's very own Son.
And still, with all the history of God's miraculous interventions before him, Zechariah can't believe it. In fact, he refuses to believe it.
Have life experiences battered you down and lowered your expectations of what God can do in your world? This Christmas season is all about miracles-God stepping into our circumstances and doing things we could never expect-like taking our place under His wrath and opening heaven to us.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, forgive my disbelief when Your promises seem too good to be true. This Christmas remove my doubt and increase my faith-and my joy. In Jesus' Name. Amen.