This series, The Characters of Christmas, will look at different characters in the Christmas story to see how the birth of Jesus was good news of great joy for all of them, whether an elderly couple like Zechariah and Elizabeth, a poor young couple like Joseph and Mary, the marginalized shepherds, or even cosmic beings (angels).
The birth of Jesus is good news for the elderly Zechariah and Elizabeth, who have spent their lives bearing disgrace. They were righteous and blameless in their walk with God. However, there is one thing that sets them apart in a negative way: Elizabeth is childless. This is a painful situation for both of them, and one that society would not receive generously. Both of them were well aware of how society viewed them for not having a child; the associated pain this brought them within (as would-be parents) and without (in the judgment from their neighbors) must have been nearly unbearable.
These are individuals who have given their entire lives to God. They have served him faithfully, yet the desire of their hearts has not come to pass. The birth of Jesus shows us that no matter what stage of life you’re in, it is still good news for you. This was good news for Zechariah and Elizabeth. They were finally going to have a child! And the reason they were going to have this child was so that a prophet would prepare people to meet the Lord. In the act of giving them a child, God demonstrates his intention to give grace. Elizabeth’s shame is removed, replaced with a demonstration of God’s favor. Her disgrace among the people is replaced with a son who preaches a message of repentance.