Cranky Christmas - Zechariah

Tom Harding

It wasn’t burnout — we still had energy. It wasn’t depression — we didn’t feel hopeless. We just felt somewhat joyless and aimless. It turns out there’s a name for that: languishing. 



Suffer from being forced to remain in an unpleasant place or situation.


Luke 1:6–7

Zechariah and Elizabeth were righteous in God’s eyes, careful to obey all of the Lord’s commandments and regulations. They had no children because Elizabeth was unable to conceive, and they were both very old. 


I cannot always control my circumstances, but I can always control how I respond to my circumstances.

Integrity - An honest, accountable life of trust built on the Truth of Jesus and empowered by the Holy Spirit.


Matthew 7:28-29

28 When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, 29 because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

Luke 1:13–17

“God has heard your prayer. Your wife, Elizabeth, will give you a son, and you are to name him John . . . He will be a man with the spirit and power of Elijah. He will prepare the people for the coming of the Lord. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and he will cause those who are rebellious to accept the wisdom of the godly.” 


Luke 1:18

Zechariah said to the angel, “How can I be sure this will happen? I’m an old man now, and my wife is also well along in years.” 


Luke 1:19–20

Then the angel said, “I am Gabriel! I stand in the very presence of God. It was he who sent me to bring you this good news! But now, since you didn’t believe what I said, you will be silent and unable to speak until the child is born. For my words will certainly be fulfilled at the proper time.” 


Promise of presence


Isaiah 40:1-11

 “Comfort, comfort my people,” says your God.. . . “Your God is coming!”. . . He will rule with a powerful arm. . . He will feed his flock like a shepherd. He will carry the lambs in his arms, holding them close to his heart. He will gently lead the mother sheep with their young. 

Promise of power


Isaiah 40:12-14, 18, 22, 25-26

Who else has held the oceans in his hand? . . . Who else knows the weight of the earth or has weighed the mountains and hills on a scale? . . . Has the Lord ever needed anyone’s advice? Does he need instruction about what is good?

To whom can you compare God? . . . God sits above the circle of the earth. The people below seem like grasshoppers to him!. . . “To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?” asks the Holy One. Look up into the heavens. Who created all the stars? He brings them out like an army, one after another, calling each by its name. Because of his great power and incomparable strength, not a single one is missing. 

Promise of perception—I see you.


Isaiah 40:27-31

O Jacob, how can you say the Lord does not see your troubles? . . . Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. . . No one can measure the depths of his understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. . .. . .those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint. 

Hope is the cure for languishing.



The confident expectation of what God has promised and his faithfulness to His keep his promises. 


Isaiah 40:3-5

Listen! It’s the voice of someone shouting, “Clear the way through the wilderness for the Lord! Make a straight highway through the wasteland for our God! Fill in the valleys, and level the mountains and hills. Straighten the curves, and smooth out the rough places. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. 


Luke 3:2–6

At this time a message from God came to John son of Zechariah, who was living in the wilderness. Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven. Isaiah had spoken of John when he said, “He is a voice shouting in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord’s coming! 


Luke 1:67–76

“Praise the Lord. . . He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of his servant David, just as he promised  . . . “And you, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. 


I rarely understand God’s actions but I can always trust his character.

When my circumstances make life difficult, God’s promises make life possible.

God’s picture and plan are larger than mine and nothing will thwart God’s plan.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in his wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of his glory and grace