The Gift of Hope

Luke 1:1-25

1Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us,
2just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word,
3it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus;
4so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.
5In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah; and he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
6They were both righteous in the sight of God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and requirements of the Lord.
7But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both advanced in years.
8Now it happened that while he was performing his priestly service before God in the appointed order of his division,
9according to the custom of the priestly office, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense.
10And the whole multitude of the people were in prayer outside at the hour of the incense offering.
11And an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense.
12Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him.
13But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John.
14“You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
15“For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb.
16“And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God.
17“It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
18Zacharias said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.”
19The angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.
20“And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”
21The people were waiting for Zacharias, and were wondering at his delay in the temple.
22But when he came out, he was unable to speak to them; and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple; and he kept making signs to them, and remained mute.
23When the days of his priestly service were ended, he went back home.
24After these days Elizabeth his wife became pregnant, and she kept herself in seclusion for five months, saying,
25“This is the way the Lord has dealt with me in the days when He looked with favor upon me, to take away my disgrace among men.”