It's Christmas Eve 1945 in Bedford Falls, New York, and George Bailey is suicidal. George’s Uncle Billy, the one with the crow on his shoulder, had gone to deposit $8,000 (about $100,000 in today’s dollars) for his building and loan business that morning. But he mistakenly places the envelope in evil Mr. Potter’s newspaper. Things go from bad to worse for George Bailey, and there he stands on a bridge in a blizzard ready to jump. Looking at the raging river below, he prays, “Dear Father in heaven, I'm not a praying man, but if you're up there and you can hear me [begins crying] show me the way. Show me the way.” George Bailey needed $8,000 more than anything—or so he thought. But what he really needed was to believe that God had given him a wonderful life. A life of purpose. A life that genuinely helped others. But it’s hard to believe that when you are overcome with discouragement.
I can relate to George Bailey at his time of discouragement and loss of hope. Can you? What if you don’t have a “Clarence” to show you the way? What if it feels like all your prayers have simply been hitting the ceiling? What if the only thing you can hear in your pain is silence?
That was the situation for the nation of Israel and a particular Israelite couple 2,021 years ago (give or take a couple of years).
(Read Luke 1:5–7)
This couple must have wanted a child more than anything. Perhaps they had seen doctors. They had tried for many years. There had been tears. Sleepless nights. Lying awake and wondering, “Why, God?” Their friends had all gone on to have children years ago. Now their friends were starting to have grandchildren. Zechariah and ...
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