Episode #1: Zechariah

This Christmas, we thought we’d retell the events of Jesus’ birth by writing them into short stories, beginning with Zechariah in Luke 1:5-25. This doesn’t replace Luke’s gospel, but aims to get you excited for the real account.

***

I’d waited my whole life for this moment.

Lots had been cast and mine had been drawn. The other priests now patted me on the back. I couldn’t believe it.

But I was terrified.

I entered the inner temple and bowed before the Lord’s presence. Despite the darkness, the golden fixtures glowed; the ark’s power was paralysing.

A slim flame danced in my hand, which shook as I lit the incense – the aroma of the priestly prayers being said from outside.

I knelt with my offering. I whispered my prayer for Israel’s repentance, righteousness and readiness for the Lord.

Bowing down, my chin kissed the cold temple floor. My arms, straight.

“Don’t be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard.”

I pulled my arms in, dragging my ageing legs back onto the balls of my feet. The voice spoke from a blanket of light, which consumed the burning incense.

With hands raised to my eyes, I squinted in disbelief.

“Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you’ll call him John. He’ll go before the Lord to turn disobedient hearts to the wisdom of the righteous – to prepare a people for the Lord.”

A disbelieving gasp escaped me. There was no way Elizabeth could have a son at her age. No way. “How can I be sure?”

“I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God. Because you didn’t believe my words, you will be silent until this happens.”

The presence of the Lord overwhelmed me. Gasping once more, this time no sound left my mouth.

My Elizabeth? A son? To go ahead of the Lord? To prepare a people for his salvation? The weight of the Lord’s presence lay on my shoulders. I needed to hide from his holiness.

Turning towards the door, the words in my mouth had dried up. But the praise in my heart overflowed.

***

What are you hoping for this Christmas?

Even at Christmas time, it can seem like the world is so full of darkness. Wars are raging, people are homeless and there is still so much poverty in this world. Heirs contributor, Ben Moon, wants to share some good news with you for this festive season.

Music by Lights & Motion – Lucid Dreaming

Thanks to those who have helped in the production of this video including Max Broadbent, Matt Dennis and ninefootone creative.