"Do not be afraid, Zechariah . . . Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness . . ." - Luke 1: 13 - 14
With these words the angel Gabriel told Zechariah that he and his wife, Elizabeth, were going to have their first child. It was an improbable announcement as both Zechariah and Elizabeth were by now far too old for such things and had given up hope. And yet, they would become the parents of John the Baptist.
Sometimes in the Christmas focus on children, on the young woman Mary and the birth in the manger, we miss another element in the story of Christ's birth. There is grace here not just for the young, but for the old, or older, as well. It's not hard, is it, to see the possibility of new life and new beginnings, when we are young or in the lives of the young? It may be more difficult to imagine such grace and newness when we are well beyond that time of life, when the future is no longer so open or full of promise as it once seemed. All the more reason then to receive the gift of this part of the story, the promise of grace and new life, not only for the young, but for no-longer-young too. Grace happens, surprise and new life can come, no matter what our age. Look today for the surprise of God's grace in your life, no matter what age you are.
For the reminder, dear Lord, that you have the power to bring new life to us when we've given up thinking it possible, we give you thanks and praise. Amen.
Tony Robinson, a United Church of Christ minister, is a speaker, teacher, and writer. His newest book is Called to Lead: Paul’s Letters to Timothy for a New Day. You can read Tony's "Weekly Meditation" and "What's Tony Thinking?" at his website, www.anthonybrobinson.com.