Judges 13:2-7, 24-25
Psalm 71:3-4, 5-6, 16-17
The Gift of Silence
" . . . when he came out, he was unable to speak to them,
The sounds of the season can be beautiful, mesmerizing.
They also can be distractions as we await the coming of our Lord.
Two narratives today anticipate wondrous births: Babies whose comings are proclaimed by an angel of God.
The second story, about Zechariah, includes an odd detail: the power of speech taken away from the father-to-be. I recall being taught this passage years ago in Sunday school. My immature understanding was that Zechariah was being punished, and the reading does make it sound that way.
But what if Zechariah's time of silence is not a punishment? What if it is a gentle gift from Gabriel?
Think about it: Here¹s the angel of God telling this guy that not only is he to experience the joy of fatherhood in his old age, but that the child, possessed by the spirit and power of Elijah, will win the hearts of thousands for God. How does Zechariah react?
He starts babbling about himself.
Sure, Zechariah is a devout priest. Maybe he's also a self-obsessed egoist who can't hear God, or anyone else, because he thinks everything is about him and him alone. Maybe he can't be still long enough to know any better. What a huge favor Gabriel has done for Zechariah. In order to be the father John needs, Zechariah is going to have to zip it up and learn to truly hear God.
Today I think that a good chunk of my Advent ought to be a time of silence.
My prayer, as we draw near to our celebrations of the birth of Jesus,
is that God will silence me and open my ears to His guidance, His love,
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