Advent in Luke: Elizabeth's Peace
What does it take for you to feel at peace? If you’re a budding megalomaniac the answer is simple: “All people everywhere all the time obeying me.” Anything less and you might feel twitchy.
Most people have thresholds for feeling at peace. A safe and healthy family. A secure and fulfilling job. A network of affirming friendships. Different people draw their line at different places.
Elizabeth was an old woman who lived with more a sense of resignation than peace. By the time the angel breaks into her husband’s routine, Elizabeth had long ago accepted her lot in life.
Her husband was a genuinely good man but he had already topped out as a priest. Like many before him, Zechariah would live his priestly life and then fade from memory. No testimonies. Just a country priest who did his best, God bless him.
And if they didn’t remember Zechariah, they certainly wouldn’t remember his barren wife. Sad, really, for the both of them. Good people who just seem to destined for obscurity. Not even a single child, male or female, to bear witness to their existence.
In her day the “blame” of childlessness lay at her feet. There must be something wrong with her. Either she is poorly made or wrongly behaved. Either way Elizabeth, bears the burden. Sad to be forgotten before you pass away. And childless, too.
But things changed. God chose lowly, obscure Zechariah and Elizabeth as trumpets to herald a new day.
I wonder did her “frown creases” change into “smile creases” during those months of seclusion? Did the etched wrinkles of worry and fatigue smooth out … just a little … while behind closed doors she kept adjusting her old clothes to fit her new body?
“Blessed is she who believed there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.” (Lk. 1.45) Elizabeth said that Mary and it certainly applies, first, to Mary.
But it also applies to Elizabeth. How many years of silent prayers and quiet service? Who knows? But fundamental to her “righteousness before God” (Lk. 1.6) was belief God is God and His Word is true. At first her priest for a husband did not believe God’s word to him.
But Elizabeth did. And she was at peace.