“And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord...’” Luke 1:11-15 ESV
One of the things that I know that I know that I know about God is His incredible ability to bring beauty from things where there was once no beauty to be found. His promise to us in Romans 8:28 is that all things work together for our good, so there is hope to be found in even the most seemingly hopeless situations. We can see just how capable He is at fulfilling His promises in the very beginning of the Christmas story.
In Luke 1, an angel comes to Zechariah, who had been unable to have children with his wife Elizabeth. They were both definitively past child-bearing years with no hope for ever conceiving, but in response to their prayers, God sends the angel to bring them the good news that will have a child. That child would be John, who according to Jesus Himself was the greatest of all humankind (Matthew 11:11).
The angel goes on to prophesy to Zechariah all the great things that his son John would do for the kingdom of God. Not only were they to miraculously have a son, but a son who would bring so many people of Israel to God. Out of the barren womb of Elizabeth was born the man who would prepare the way for the Messiah.
“And he came to her and said, ‘Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!’ But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.’” Luke 1:28-32 ESV
Six months into Elizabeth’s pregnancy with John, an angel came to Mary and told her that she was to be the mother of Jesus, even though she was unmarried and a virgin. What seemed impossible to Mary was not so for God. Out of the promise made to Mary came Jesus, the Savior of the world, the most beautiful gift God could ever give to His people, the One who would restore us to right standing with the Father.
In both of these miracles, God took brokenness and emptiness and redeemed it for His glory, but the beauty of what God has done goes far beyond the implausible birth of a child. From Mary’s empty womb to the empty Garden Tomb, God continuously shows us His ability to take what’s bare and make it beautiful. This is our Father, who is not bound by the laws of nature or science or circumstance, but only to His promises, through which He delivers us and provides for us.
There is no situation too broken, no circumstance too barren, no condition too empty to stop God from fulfilling His promise. This is why we celebrate this season. His promise to us is Himself, in whom lies eternal life. In any way we lack, it is not the end for us. He writes a beautiful story where because of His sacrifice, we are victorious.
Lord, thank you that every promise is yes and amen in You. I pray that You would teach me to put my hope in You and that I would not be discouraged by what I can see. Reveal Yourself to me as the provider of everything I desire and need. I place my trust in You, knowing that just as You did with Elizabeth and Mary, You will fulfill Your promises to me. Amen.
Author | Kalli Drake