“In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah …. And he had a wife … and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.” (Luke 1:5-7 ESV)
The story of Jesus’ birth starts with an ordinary grief. Zechariah and Elizabeth are respectable, ordinary people who love the Lord and follow Him. But there is a great sadness in their lives. The one blessing they want the most has always been denied to them. Elizabeth has never had a baby, and now it is too late.
Chances are that Zechariah and Elizabeth didn’t say very much about their sadness. A lot of people assume that infertility is a punishment from God. People in their village would have gossiped about them, trying to figure out what secret evil led to this. It would be easier just not to talk about it.
But God was listening, and God understood. And when it came time for God to send Jesus into the world, God did not forget this couple’s grief. He chose them—not some more fortunate family!—to raise the child who would prepare the way for Jesus.
We, too, have ordinary griefs—people we love who have died, the loss of jobs or homes or health, broken marriages and friendships. And sometimes it feels like God isn’t paying attention. But He is. And He sends us His own dear Son to be our Savior.
Through His own suffering, grief, and death, Jesus brings us life, healing, and hope. And because Jesus is alive again, now and forever, we know absolutely that one day God will wipe away every tear from our eyes—when Jesus returns and “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Revelation 21:4b ESV).
Prayer: Lord, bless You for giving us Your Son to carry our griefs and sorrows. Amen.
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
Used by permission from International Lutheran Laymen’s League, all rights reserved
First published December 7, 2021
* How do you think Elizabeth and Zechariah felt about their situation?
* What is one ordinary grief you have experienced?
* How has the Lord helped you with it?
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