by Kathy Ely, Assistant Principal and Kindergarten Teacher
I love this time of year for many reasons. One of the most important reasons is that I get to teach my Kindergarten students the story of Christmas. I always begin with Zechariah the priest. It is in this context that we first see heaven breaking through to earth in the appearance of the angel Gabriel. He was sent from the throne of God to bring a message of hope and joy to Zechariah. Not only was the content of this message for Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, but it was also for the nation of Israel who had been waiting for the Messiah to come for hundreds of years. The message was that Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth would have their prayers answered and that Elizabeth would give birth to a son. This son would grow up to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord. Zechariah’s response was “How can this be, since I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years?” Gabriel instantly rebukes Zechariah for his lack of faith and pronounces judgment on him declaring that he would be mute until the baby is born.
We next see Gabriel appear to Mary in her house in Nazareth. The same angel appears to her and announces that she will give birth to a Son and He will be the Savior of the world! Mary’s response to this was to basically ask the same question but for a different reason, “How can this be?” I used to wonder why Zechariah incurred judgment and Mary did not. Didn’t they ask the same question? I decided to look at it more closely.
Zechariah’s posture was “This can’t happen. I am too old and so is my wife. This can’t be true. It’s impossible.” Zechariah wanted to be sure this word was from God. He doubted the angel’s message. He promptly received a rebuke from Gabriel for his unbelief and then a consequence. Mary, on the other hand, didn’t doubt the angel’s word to her, she simply wanted to know how God would do this thing since she was a virgin not if He could do it. Gabriel’s response to her was, “With God, nothing shall be impossible.”
One person approached their situation with faith and one with doubt and unbelief. Even though Zechariah was a priest and ministered before the Lord, he did not believe the Lord. Mary was full of grace. Grace embraces faith because we cannot receive anything from God unless He gives us the grace to do so. It is the Law versus grace.
Where are you today in your relationship with the Lord as the day hastens to celebrate His coming into this world? Do you approach Him with doubt and unbelief or do you walk in the grace that He has lavished on us? He is still full of grace and truth. Come to Him with a humble heart and receive His grace anew! Perhaps you will see impossible things happen in your life!