Zacharias was a priest and Elizabeth was his wife. He and Elizabeth were both known as people who loved and obeyed God. Other than that, they were just an ordinary couple. Well, ordinary except for the fact that they had no children. This set them apart because having children was a sign that the blessing of the Lord was upon them. The more children a couple had, the bigger the blessing. I suppose that it was assumed by people that the more children a couple had, the more God loved them.
Zacharias and Elizabeth wanted children. They had prayed and prayed and asked God for children, but still they had none. And now, they were “advanced in years,” which meant that they were likely too old to have any children. I bet that at this point, they were resolved that children were not going to be a part of their lives.
Breakfast had been eaten; the last bit of coffee downed; Zacharias headed out the door for his priestly duties. This was yet another ordinary day for an ordinary couple.
However, on this day, an unexpected surprise awaited them. Zacharias was selected as the priest to burn the incense! The incense was kept perpetually burning just in front of the veil that divided the holy place from the most holy place in the tabernacle. It was a high honor to burn the incense. A priest could only do it once during their lifetime and many did not get selected to do it in an entire lifetime of priestly service.
Zacharias was alone in the holy place to burn incense before the Lord while the rest of the priests and worshippers stood outside and worshiped and prayed. How exciting for this man who loved and feared the Lord! It was a sweet surprise in the middle of ordinary.