The Gospels do not always plunge straight into the birth of Jesus, again showing us God’s preparation in giving us a Saviour. Matthew’s Gospel starts with a family tree, showing us that Jesus is connected with people right back to the first man, Adam. Luke’s Gospel starts with the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth. (Luke 1)

Zechariah and Elizabeth were devout people who loved God, and yet their lives had one major dissatisfaction: they had no children. (Luke 1:6-7) They were religious and yet they did not have this evidence of God’s blessing. One day, Zechariah was at work in the temple when an angel appeared to him to tell him ‘Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John. 14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.’ (Luke 1:13-15) Not only would they have a son, he would be significant in turning people back to God: ‘to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’ (Luke 1:17)

For four hundred years, God had been silent and His people were feeling hopeless. Suddenly, there is hope again! We can’t always know what God is doing behind the scenes, and it can be hard to wait through days, weeks, months and even years of silence. But as we go about our daily lives, God can step into our situations with swiftness and miraculous means.  As Sherlock Holmes was wont to say, ‘the game’s afoot.’