Upright and blameless. That describes Elizabeth, wife of Zechariah the priest. For many years she had longed for a child of her own, but they were now old, and she was barren.
Her husband had been chosen to go into the temple of the Lord and burn incense. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a priest put Zechariah in the very presence of God. While serving, an angel appeared to him and said, "Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son and you are to give him the name John" (Luke 1:13).
Zechariah questioned the words of the angel. "How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years." Because of his doubt, he was struck dumb and would not speak until the birth of his son. But after long years of waiting, Elizabeth accepted the news with joy. "The Lord has done this for me... In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people" (1:25).
Mary's waiting had just begun. As the story unfolded and the child was born, shepherds, wise men, and an angry king all became part of her life. We are told that "Mary treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart' (2:19). Until her final breath, she would wait to see what God would do through the life, death, and resurrection of her son.
And then there's Anna. She was not just old, she was very old. Widowed after only seven years of marriage, she was now 84. The Scripture says that she never left the temple but remained there night and day, worshipping God, fasting, and praying. When Joseph and Mary presented Jesus at the temple, Anna was there. "Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem" (2:38). Her waiting was over.