In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, who belonged to the priestly order of Abijah. His wife was a descendant of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both of them were righteous before God, living blamelessly according to all the commandments and regulations of the Lord. But they had no children, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were getting on in years.
Once when he was serving as priest before God and his section was on duty, he was chosen by lot, according to the custom of the priesthood, to enter the sanctuary of the Lord and offer incense. Now at the time of the incense offering, the whole assembly of the people was praying outside. Then there appeared to him an angel of the Lord, standing at the right side of the altar of incense. When Zechariah saw him, he was terrified; and fear overwhelmed him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zechariah said to the angel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” The angel replied, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.”
Meanwhile the people were waiting for Zechariah, and wondered at his delay in the sanctuary. When he did come out, he could not speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the sanctuary. He kept motioning to them and remained unable to speak. When his time of service was ended, he went to his home. After those days his wife Elizabeth conceived, and for five months she remained in seclusion. She said, “This is what the Lord has done for me when he looked favorably on me and took away the disgrace I have endured among my people.” Luke 1:5-25
Dear Aunt Elizabeth,
We have made it to our next resting place overnight and had an uneventful trip this time. We are staying with cousin Ariel and he was recounting the story of Zachariah's dream and his silence all through your confinement. You know that he is ancient, about the same age as Zachariah (oops, sorry if that's offensive) and doesn't get around all too well. He loves regaling people with stories and always has! He happened to be in the temple when your husband was confronted by the angel, although Ariel contends that no one saw any angel in the temple that day. He thinks your husband is a bit dramatic, but then I think the whole clan is - especially the men. We're having a good visit and my bumps and bruises seem to be fading quite quickly. I suspect we will be in Bethlehem within the next few days.
Our route is taking us to some strange relatives, but it has been quite an interesting adventure. I sure wish I could tell Mama about all my experiences. It is really hard not to have her nearby. Joseph is wonderful and a good listener but he is often very quiet and doesn't engage in a lot of talking and chatter. I love talking and learning about people. He likes to sit back and observe. I have learned that what he sees and hears is helpful and so different from what I am taking in.
The road ahead over the next days is going to be challenging since the hills outside the city are rocky and uneven. The animals are sure footed but I think I will be doing quite a bit of walking although it will be slow going. Pray for a safe day or two ahead for us. Some times I get so scared of what lies ahead. The city scares me some, and I know it is because I have never really been anywhere without Mama and Papa. They took care of so much and now we are on our own.