am Joseph of Nazareth and a descendant of the House of David. It was not something I could publicize. There were hopes and rumors that another David would come and deliver us from our oppressors. Our invaders forced us into service and molested our women. Our king was not a descendant of Jacob and therefore he feared the prophecy that suggested the rise of another David. For that reason, we lived in obscurity in Nazareth where no prophecy pointed at. I lived quietly, obeyed the traditions of our fathers and made my living as a wood worker. I, too, intended to be married and raise a family. I even became engaged to a very kind and lovely young lady by the name of Mary. I had no idea that a dream would alter my intentions in life. There were many with dreams and vision, but I was not one of them. I relied on facts and facts were difficult to dismiss.
Month: November 2011
How Christmas Began #3
I am Elizabeth, wife of Zechariah and mother of John the Baptist. I am also the cousin to Mary, mother of Jesus, my Lord. My husband and I were both descendants of Aaron the first Priest of our Hebrew people. I was named after Aaron's wife; namely, Elisheba. It meant that God was an "oath" and that He kept His promises. In time, my name became Elizabeth. There were three hidden meanings in my name. Eli stood for "the Lord is exalted," zabad meant "a gift." In this sense a gift from the Lord or Yahweh. The ending "beth" meant a house or a home. Together, my name meant that God's promise would come through and my house or family would exalt or praise Him. And indeed I became a miracle woman. Like Sarah and Hanna of old, I too was barren and the Lord blessed me with a son in my old age. And like the angel promised Abraham that his son Isaac would continue his seed, the angel promised my husband Zechariah that our son John would usher in the age of the New Israel. That, in itself, would have been the highest honor any mother could have. My son was to be the long-predicted forerunner of the Anointed One of God. What a thrill that was to be the mother of the one that would introduce the Savior to the world!
How Christmas Began #2
One day, in the winter of the year, I was interrupted doing my household chores. I had many things to do. My parents had made arrangements for me to marry Joseph, the carpenter. He was quite a bid older than I. He was mature, well established and liked. His wheels, carts and wagons were in great demand. I was considered very fortunate. In my young head, I did not realize how valuable Joseph was until strange things began to happen to me. These things were difficult to explain because I could do nothing to encourage or prevent them. I had been chosen of the Lord for a very special purpose. It was a task that lay outside the realm of human possibility. I was not imagining this. It came right out of the mouth of a being that called himself Gabriel, angel of the Lord Most High. Who would believe me that he said I was to be a mother without a husband? My greatest fear was, "How would Joseph take the news?" I did not have to explain to him, the Lord did that for me. He, too, was chosen to be a father to my Son.
HOW CHRISTMAS BEGAN #1
My name is Zechariah. It means, "The Lord has remembered me." Indeed, He has heard my prayers. Among my people, it was disgraceful not to have children. No one would be around to take care of us when we no longer could function. It was particularly painful for my wife. In my world, only women were barren. They were guilty of not bearing children. It was believed that they must have done something that displeased the Lord. Being a priest, without a male heir, made my future look even bleaker. I belonged to a long and reputable line of priests. I dated back to Abijah and Aaron and so did my wife Elizabeth. We were God-fearing and law-abiding Levites. We tried to lead a blameless life before God and men. I was faithful to my priestly duties. And without a son, my chain link, in the priesthood, was about to end.
Do people see Christ in us or do we have to tell them?
We do, quite often, insist that we are not like Jesus; namely, divine and human. Jesus distinctly lived and acted in every way as a human being (Heb.4: 15). Until His departure time He referred to Himself as the Son of Man and not as the Son of God. He did not want to be publicized as the Son of the living God (Mt.16: 20). On His last day, He still left it up to His accusers to tell Him who He was and why He was guilty (Greek text, Mt.26: 64). They regarded Jesus as a friend of publicans and sinners, but could not uncover a single disgression. Jesus proved that man was not born a sinner; rather, he became one by choice. For instance, I did not sin in my mother's womb. I did, when I became aware of what is right and what is wrong. Unlike Jesus, I was not as keen on doing what was right. When I did try to do the right thing, it troubled those that did not. Jesus proved that a man could do what is right, even if it costs him his life. Most of the time He went beyond the call of duty. To make it in this world, we too must go the extra mile.
Jesus predicted that it would happen.
Mark, the Evangelist, tells us that it was Jesus who was amazed at the people's lack of faith (Mk.6: 6). Jesus went home to share with His people the marvelous things God was going to do for them through one of their own and they rejected Him (Jn.1: 11). Yes, some marveled at Jesus' wisdom and healing ability; but, they could not connect because Jesus was one of their own and they knew His family. Jesus had so much to offer and could do very little because they could not believe that God was using one of their own (Mt.13: 53-58). The hometown's people were too familiar with Jesus and His family to accept Him as God's Prophet, rather as God's mouthpiece (Mk.6: 1-6).