Amazing, wonderful, magical events fill the Christmas Story. Some are heart-warming and touch the spirit with each new reading: the straw manger, a young mother, a bewildered father. Some events are awe-inspiring, even fantastically unbelievable: A virgin birth, wise men following a distant star, angels appearing in the night sky.
The book of Luke begins with one such story. It is a story that is far from believable and it sets the stage for the greatest story of all.
Luke 1:5 tells of a priest, Zacharias. He is a man with a long, strong lineage that brings to the steps of the Temple. He is awaiting his turn to serve before the great and powerful God. The verse also introduces his wife Elisabeth, who was also from priestly parentage.
The introduction was helpful but it is the next verse that is the focus of the story. This passage heaps the highest praise upon the aunt and uncle of our Lord, Jesus. No other Biblical personality has ever received more lofty words, “They were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless”.
If you want, you can put that on my tombstone when I am dead and gone.
Luke reports that these two were Righteous: Imagine Innocence. Ponder Perfection. Deliberate Devotion.
Luke explains that they were Blameless: Contemplate Faultless. Consider Correctness. Reflect upon Rightness.
They were holy, living their lives fully dedicated to God’s Word, giving their lives to God’s Law and serving the Lord with Fidelity and Truth. They did no wrong. They were wholesome in both action and thought. They lived lives of adoration and worship: authentic examples of purity.
Elisabeth and Zacharias were people with clean hands and pure hearts.
But what happens next reveals something about the human nature. It opens a small window into the imperfection of character. It shows us that even the Righteous can fall, even the Blameless can falter.
And we’ll talk about that next time…