December 10, 2018

Zechariah and Elizabeth

December 10, 2018


Luke 1:5-25
This weekend’s reading: Zephaniah 3:14-20


In Silence And Other Surprising Invitations Of Advent [2012], Enuma Okoro focuses her devotional guide on the story of the priest, Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth. This elderly couple had no children, a shameful ‘lack’ in their culture.  Okoro describes these passages as a story of accustomed longing; unmet desire; sustained prayer; occasional doubt and seasons of silent retreat and seclusion.  This burden in their hearts was always present, an undercurrent of hope unrealized.
Both Zechariah and Elizabeth have their own responses to the announcement that there will be a child to be called John…the voice crying in the wilderness.  Being struck dumb most likely interfered with Zechariah’s priestly duties…heaven knows that an elderly woman with child experiences plenty of disruption to her daily life.

Okoro considers the conception and birth of John the Baptist a holy interruption.

When God calls us, God equips us with holy strength and human support.  No one bears God’s word alone, and yet, nothing can make us available to God but the state of our hearts and spirits…In Luke’s Gospel we learn that God is not bound by our expectation or limitations.  God believes that we are more capable than we think to endure certain experiences and to assist God in divine work in the world.  God also anticipates our needs in fulfilling God’s desire for us…God is always aware of us.  God embraces our questions and responds to us regardless of what we think of God’s response.”


  • How can we best prepare for holy interruptions?
  • How will we respond? 
  • Are you Zechariah or Elizabeth?  Does it matter?

  • When has your family or group experienced a holy interruption?
  • What happened and how did you, as a family or group, respond?


Heavenly Father, make us aware of the ways that we can allow the ‘interruptions’ in our days to be seen through your eyes.  Show us how to make space for the lamentations of the hurting heart; help us to support the already growing potential in the life of another person; and set us to reflection and discernment when we believe we have heard you call. Amen.