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Zechariah #AtoZChallenge

This year my A to Z challenge is about Christmas, a major festival in the Christian Church. Another major festival is Easter, which I wrote about for the A to Z Challenge in 2020.

My A to Z challenge began with Advent and angels one of whom appeared to Zechariah. Zechariah became the father of John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus’ (Yeshua’s) ministry.

This Zechariah is not the same one as the prophet, whose name is given to the penultimate book in the Old Testament. The prophet Zechariah foresaw events which occurred in Jesus’ life. Zechariah 9:9-10 is one example. It predicts the events of Palm Sunday.

The New Testament Zechariah also appeared in my post for the letter Q. I rewrote Zechariah’s story in my own words for my A to Z challenge in 2017. Why not click through to read it there?

A Christmas carol which uses the letter Z is the Zither carol. Zither was my post for my A to Z about musical instruments. The link above to the Zither carol is a karaoke version. To listen to the carol being sung, please click here.

While this year’s A to Z badges by Anjela Curtis honour the late Jeremy Hawkins, I hope that my posts about Christmas honour Jesus Christ, ‘who was and is and is to come’. Revelation 1:4

I hope you have enjoyed looking at the Christmas story with me.

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Questions #AtoZChallenge

This year my A to Z challenge is about Christmas, a major festival in the Christian Church. Another major festival is Easter, which I wrote about for the A to Z Challenge in 2020.

Two people from the story of Jesus’ birth had questions. The first was Zechariah to whom the angel Gabriel appeared and predicted the birth of his son, John. Zechariah asked the angel how he could be sure. His question perhaps demonstrated that he didn’t trust the message or the messenger. He became dumb until his son was born. The story may be read in Luke 1: 5-25 and 57-80.

Zechariah has appeared in another A to Z series on this blog.

Mary also asked a question of the Angel Gabriel, when he appeared to her. How can this be? Her question seems to have been one arising from wonder rather than mistrust. She was a very young woman, probably still in her teens, whereas Zechariah was a priest, who should have known the scriptures and how God had given other barren women children in their later lives. A reflection in New Daylight from the Bible Reading Fellowship by Amy Boucher Pye in December 2021 touched on the question of these two angelic encounters.

There is nothing wrong with asking questions, but we have to learn to trust God.

A Christmas carol, which asks and answers some questions about the Christ-child is What child is this?

While this year’s A to Z badges by Anjela Curtis honour the late Jeremy Hawkins, I hope that my posts about Christmas honour Jesus Christ, ‘who was and is and is to come’. Revelation 1:4

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Elizabeth #AtoChallenge

This year my A to Z challenge is about Christmas, a major festival in the Christian Church. Another major festival is Easter, which I wrote about for the A to Z Challenge in 2020.

Elizabeth was the wife of Zechariah, a priest. They were both descended from Aaron the brother of Moses. Only members of the tribe of Levi could be priests.

In the place and time when they lived it was shameful for a wife not to have any children. Elizabeth was getting old and had never had children. The birth of her son was foretold by the Angel of the Lord. This prophecy will be the focus of a later post in this series. Luke 1:12-17

When the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary he told her that Elizabeth was pregnant. Mary and Elizabeth were related to each other, so Mary went to visit Elizabeth. Luke 1:36-37 From the dates given in the story it is possible that Mary stayed with Elizabeth until after the birth of John. Elizabeth was in her sixth month of pregnancy when the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary. Mary may not have set off straightaway to visit Elizabeth. We are told that she stayed about three months with Elizabeth in Zechariah’s house. She may have wanted to see Elizabeth’s baby before returning to Nazareth. We are not told where Elizabeth and Zechariah lived, but as he was a priest it would most probably been in or near Jerusalem.

When Mary arrived in the home of Zechariah and Elizabeth, she greeted Elizabeth, who replied with the words, which have become known as the Ave Maria (Hail Mary) and are important in the Roman Catholic liturgy. The unborn child, John, had leapt in his mother’s womb in recognition of Mary’s unborn chid, Jesus. Luke 1:39-45

When Elizabeth’s baby boy was born her relatives expected him to be called Zechariah after his father. Elizabeth spoke out by saying, ‘He is to be called John.’ Luke 1:59-60

Two other posts in this series will be needed to complete the story, but if you are unable to wait until we reach the end of the alphabet, perhaps you should read the whole of Chapter 1 of Luke’s gospel.

Ave Maria is the chorus of this beautiful carol by Malcolm Archer.

While this year’s A to Z badges by Anjela Curtis honour the late Jeremy Hawkins, I hope that my posts about Christmas honour Jesus Christ, ‘who was and is and is to come’. Revelation 1:4