Read Luke 1:8-10 TEXT: "He was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense." (Luke 1:9)
Do you have Christmas memories that are so strong you can close your eyes and see, hear, feel and smell them? For me one of those vivid memories is singing "Silent Night" by candle light in church on Christmas Eve. I can still smell the hot wax, feel the warmth on my face, see the flicker of the candle's flame, and hear the voices blending together in beautiful harmony.
That's how clear Mary's memories were. She remembers Herod was king of Judea at the time. She can even name from which of the 24 divisions of priests Zechariah belonged. Each of these divisions worked two weeks out of the year at the Jerusalem temple. Each afternoon the priests cast lots to see who would enter the temple alone to burn incense.
Mary recalls 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 which 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 tremendous honor of a special invitation. But God extends a much higher 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.
Prayer: Lord 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.
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