Major things happen in this long first chapter. God starts moving again. Remember this follows four hundred years of divine silence. Angels appear. Temple worship is interrupted. Signs and miracles occur. Babies are conceived in unlikely and unnatural ways. God is on the move and it is BIG!
All of this action has a point:
He [John] will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God. (1:16)
He [Jesus] will be a great man, and he’ll be called the son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of David his father, and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever. His kingdom will never come to an end. (1:32-33)
He [God] has rescued his servant, Israel his child. (1:54a)
Blessed be the Lord, Israel’s God! He’s come to his people and bought them their freedom. He’s raised up a horn of salvation for us. . . . Salvation from our enemies, rescue from hatred, mercy to our ancestors. . . . Letting his people know of salvation, through the forgiveness of all their sins. (1:68-69a, 71-72, 77)
God moves so as to save, to bless, to rule, and to redeem.
So, how do you respond when God starts doing magnificent things in your life? Just like Elizabeth, Mary, and Zechariah: you worship!
Elizabeth: Elizabeth was filled with the holy spirit, and shouted at the top of her voice: “Of all women, you’re the blessed one!” (1:41b-42)
Mary: My soul declares that the Lord is great, My spirit exults in my savior, my God. (1:46-47)
Zechariah: Immediately his mouth and his tongue were unfastened, and he spoke, praising God. . . . “He swore an oath to Abraham our father, to give us deliverance from fear and from foes, so we might worship him.” (1:73-74)