Saints Elisabeth and Zechariah

5th November

Saints Elisabeth and Zechariah were an elderly couple who have been described as “law-abiding.” They were good people who loved God and lived an exemplary life. Zachariah was in fact, a priest of the Jewish temple.

For Jewish couples, it was important to have a child as Jews prayed and pleaded God while they waited for the birth of a Messiah.

Elisabeth and Zechariah had hoped to become parents to a child, but time was passing them by and the possibility for Elisabeth to have a child had become practically impossible.

However they did not move away from God. They remained faithful to their beliefs even though they might have felt disappointed. They might have also felt humiliated because in the Jewish culture, when a couple failed to have a child it meant that one is not blessed by God.

God had a plan for this couple!

Eventually they did have a child. Angel Gabriel announced to Zechariah, when it was his turn to offer sacrifice in the temple, that Elisabeth would bear him a son. That child was to be John the Baptist, who was assigned to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah.

Zechariah should have rejoiced with this news… If he had believed the angel! Instead he doubted. He became dumb. It was a test for him, to reflect and to listen to the message of God for him. And when he spoke again it was to fulfil God’s will for him, for his wife and for their child.

Besides watching the video, you might consider looking up the event with the older children, from the Gospel of St Luke (Lk 1, 57-66).

Dialogue with the children:

  • Can old people have babies?
    (The explanation of the wonder of the birth of John the Baptist is tied to the doubt of Zachariah and God’s intervention to make something impossible as possible. The answer to their queries depends on the children’s age and their knowledge of biological facts or explained simply for practical reasons.)
  • Only God can make that possible. He makes possible whatever is impossible.
    God can solve our problems in different ways.
  • God does not always give us what we ask for, at the time when we ask for it. He can change the situation or He can help us to change so that we are able to accept the situation.
  • Lead the children to recount some of the special things they feel that God has done for them.

Encourage them to verbalise a situation they consider to be difficult or even impossible. Talk about it. Find out what they can do about it. Come back to it during prayer time. Let the children:

  • Voice their request and believe that He is listening.
  • Promise to continue doing their part, such as putting an effort, work harder, and pray more.
  • Ask God for patience to live with it until it is “God’s good time.” We leave it in God’s hands.

God sent His Angel to deliver a special message to Zechariah:

  • Did God send angels to other people with special messages?
    (Allow them to mention special occasions when this happened.)
  • Does God send an angel to give us His messages in our daily life?
  • Lead them to realize that all positive messages that come to us from the Bible explained by priests, teachers, catechists, positive messages from our parents/grandparents/guardians, from good friends, are occasions for us to co-operate and discover what God wants from us.

For family prayer time:

  • Give praise to God for beautiful times.
  • Ask God for help in difficult situations and to accept all outcomes.
  • Pray the Hail Mary/For older children consider praying the 2nd Joyful Mystery (connect the Hail Mary with Elizabeth’s greeting words to Mary).
  • SING: My God is So Big and He’s got the whole world in His Hands, for example.

Saints Elisabeth and Zechariah are the parents of Saint John the Baptist. They prayed a lot to have a baby and God gave them this beautiful gift even though they were very old. Zechariah did not believe, at first, and as a matter of fact, Zechariah could not speak till the circumcision of John.

Trust Challenge!

Let’s be like Elisabeth and Zechariah, and let’s put our wishes in the Lord with trust and prayers. Choose a person you really trust (such as a family member, for example) and ask this person to stay right behind you. Close your eyes and try to fall backwards on this person.

Did you trust this person? Did you fall immediately? How did you feel? Was it easy for you to fall? 

Sometimes it’s very hard for us to understand the concept of ‘Trust,’ especially when it comes to trusting God, because we never saw Him. However, let us believe and trust God with all our wishes while we pray with our family. 

How to use this space

God speaks to us in many ways, including through the Saints of the Church. Here you will find useful background and activities to better understand the holy life, helping you to connect the saints to daily life in a meaningful way.