There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
But, they did not have any children,, because Elizabeth was barren, and by now, they were both well past the age of ever having children!
As it happened, it was Zacharias’ turn, according to the custom of the priest's office, by lot, to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside, at the time of incense.
While inside, suddenly, there appeared to Zacharias, an angel of the Lord...who was standing on the right side of the altar of incense,
and when Zacharias saw him, he was scared, he was very frightened indeed..
But the angel said unto him, “Don’t be afraid, Zacharias: for your prayers have been answered; and your wife Elisabeth will give birth to a son, and you shall call him John.
And you shall both will be very happy; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
“For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb, and many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. and he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
But Zacharias said to the angel, “ How can I know you are telling me the truth? I am an old man, and my wife is well past child bearing age!”
Then the angel answering said unto him, “I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to tell you these glad tidings. And now, because you have not believed me and doubted me instead, you will not be able to speak...until the day all these things happen!”
Now, the people who were all waiting for Zacharias, outside, couldn’t understand why he took so long and when he finally did come out
he could not speak to them: so they thought that maybe he had seen a vision in the temple:..... he beckoned to them, but could not speak!!!
So, as soon as he had finished with all that was expected from him, he left to go back to his own house.
And true to the words of Gabriel..... Elisabeth conceived, and she decided to hide herself five months, because, she said,
“So has the Lord dealt with me, in the days wherein he looked on me, to take away my reproach among men".
So..... in the sixth month of Elizabeth's confinement, the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin, who was engaged and betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.
And the angel came in unto her, and said,
“Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.”
But, when Mary saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and tried to think about what kind of a greeting this was!.
And the angel said unto her,
“Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, you shalt conceive in your womb, and give birth to a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end”.
Then said Mary to the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
And the angel answered and said to her,
“The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, your cousin Elizabeth, she has also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.”
And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to your word.
And the angel departed from her.
And Mary decided then, to go and visit her cousin Elizabeth, and entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.
And it came to pass, that, when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:
And she spoke out with a loud voice, and said, “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord’
And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.
And Mary stayed with Elizabeth, about three months, and returned to her own house. Now Elizabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.
And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her; and they were very happy with her.
And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they, the other people, wanted to call him Zacharias, after the name of his father. But his mother answered and said, Not so; he shall be called John.
And they said unto her, There is none of your family that is called by this name. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.
And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.
Then...as soon as he had written down the name John, his dumbness had gone and he praised and honoured the Lord. And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea.
And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be!
And the hand of the Lord was with him.