Luke 1:5-7 – In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. [6] And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. [7] But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

The fact that Elizabeth could not bear children was bad news. To not be able to bear and raise children was considered a horrible fate. Children were considered, in agreement with Psalm 127, to be a reward from the Lord. And to not have any was considered a curse. This is the consistent testimony of Scripture.

There are many men and women who know the pain of not being able to bring children into the world. They go through great efforts and expense to see if they can overcome whatever has prevented them from having children. Their hearts break with a desire to reproduce. But the culture we live in does not consider children to be a blessing and certainly does not think the inability to bear them is a great loss.

How far we have progressed! We live in a time and place when children are considered to be a nuisance. And now there is the growing belief that they interfere with the greening of the planet.

Men and women will go to great lengths to avoid having them. They will ingest, inject, and insert things into their bodies , some of which have the possibility of producing some very serious side effects, but not as serious, it is reasoned, as having a child. But then, of course, if a pregnancy should ever develop there is always the option of ending the yet-to-be-born child’s life.

Many people will have children but not at the expense of quitting a job to raise them, or living on less. We should be sympathetic with those families who simply must have both parents working due to economic necessity. But we should also remember that our society does not consider it important to enable mothers to raise their children at home. Raising children is not as important as earning money. And to suggest that mothers remain with their children is to suggest that they are worth less than others. Everything in our culture bows to the god of money, including having and raising children. People will protest that the government has a responsibility to provide affordable child care for their children because we love them so much and we demand the very best for them. But suggest that the very best for them is for their mothers to stay at home and nurse them and train them and teach them and you will earn yourself great disapproval. Suggest again that sex is meant for a married heterosexual couple and one of the results of that relationship should be children to be raised according to the teachings of the Scriptures and you are in danger of getting hurt.

Poor Elizabeth. If only she had known that her barrenness would become the envy of a culture that is bent on worshipping itself, she could have avoided all the anguish that she had endured all those years. But Elizabeth was not wrong. Her disappointment at not being able to bear children was a reflection of her being made in the image of God. And now that He had arranged things to prevent her from bearing she was devastated.

But God was good to her and Zechariah. He performed a miracle that enabled her to bear a child who would be the precursor of a greater miracle still.

Christians are called to be not conformed to the world. Our culture needs to see people committed to Jesus Christ in every avenue of their lives. There is hardly an area of life where this is more necessary than that of family life, marriage and sex and the value of children in the plan of God.