The Long Wait

The Long Wait

“A baby? Now? After all these years?”

Her husband gave her a puzzled look as he tried to read her lips.

Unable to speak.

Unable to hear.

He’d been like that ever since Jerusalem.

Elizabeth began a nine-month game of charades. Zechariah’s eyes followed her every move.

He had frightened her when he first arrived, noiseless as a wraith, but then she felt relieved. He was home again.


Until she realized he was different .

Chosen—finally—to burn incense in the Temple. What an honor! But what had happened in that sacred place?

Bit by bit, she pieced together his story.

An angel. An angel?

Zechariah’s prayer answered . Which prayer?

A son. John. A prophet?

Which led back to her first question. “A baby? Now?”

Zechariah nodded, a silly grin spreading from ear to ear.

Her arthritic knees threatened to give way. She sat, staring at the floor, lost in thought. The years of barrenness, the shame, which had weighted her soul, was blown away as chaff before the wind. As her fingers traced her belly, she felt strangely lighter.

Zechariah knelt before her. Placing a gnarled hand on each knee, he studied her face. His fingers pulled his lips into a smiley face while his eyes asked the question.

“Happy?” she asked. “Yes, of course, just a little taken back.” She grinned, smile lines blooming among wrinkles. “I guess we should have kept the cradle after all.” His bushy white eyebrows furrowed. She shook her head, sighed in frustration, and made another attempt to communicate.

Her own eyebrows drew together as she processed the news.

Our child.

In the spirit and power of Elijah.

To make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

As the words registered, her heart nearly stopped. The Lord? Was Messiah coming? Did she understand Zechariah correctly?

Wide-eyed, she looked at her husband and took the silent game of charades to a higher pitch.

“Messiah?” A hopeful tear escaped and ran down her cheek.

He nodded, his own face wet but beaming, and mouthed, “Messiah.” He wrapped her in an embrace, and two hearts raised a silent prayer of thanks to the God of heaven.

The long wait was over.


I love the Christmas story, and I relish putting on the characters’ shoes and walking around. Here are a few questions to get you thinking about this part of the Christmas story (Luke 1):

What is the longest period of time you have waited for something?

How does anticipation affect you?

Does this change with the length of the waiting period?

How do you think waiting and anticipation affected Zechariah and Elizabeth:

In regard to the Messiah? In regard to having their own child?

Can you imagine having your first child—a boy at that—as a senior citizen?