Posted on Fri, Dec 23, 2016
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” St. John 1:14
Have you heard the story about poor Zechariah, the father of John the Baptizer? He oftentimes gets forgotten in the grand story of the announcement of Jesus’ birth. He was a priest, not famous for great prophesies or church administration, just a normal faithful priest, chosen by lots to offer prayers and incense in the ‘sanctuary of the Lord.’ He was faithful to his duties, and if there is anything he would be famous for it was to question authority and be thorough in conducting background checks. The story doesn’t tell us outright, but somewhere in the middle of all his proper liturgical prayers for the people of the temple, he slipped in a personal prayer for a son. Zechariah was getting along in age, and he just wanted a little boy to play ‘spin the dirndl’ and other Hebrew games. He could offer this personal prayer in the temple because he was alone inside and the noisy congregation was outside. “Please God, grant me a son, just one son, my own son, just like all the other lucky men in my village”
To his astonishment, God was listening! How often do we really believe God is listening to our little prayers? There could be billions of other people on the prayer-line to God at any one moment! Not only did God hear Zechariah’s prayer, but also he sent Gabriel, yes THAT Gabriel, to give God’s answer to Zechariah’s prayer! Needless to say, Zechariah was terrified when Gabriel appeared before him in that place where he was supposed to be alone! The angel could sense that Zechariah was petrified so Gabriel said, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. 14You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth!” No average kid here! No dirndl spinning for this little one, he was born for a purpose! Gabriel explained Zechariah’s future purpose in life; he will be born, “To make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” Zechariah would surely have been satisfied with a normal kid, but sometimes God has plans. It’s a God thing!
Careful Zechariah mistakenly asked angel Gabriel, “How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.” Zechariah only wanted proof, validation and reassurance from this Angel who had suddenly appeared in this restricted holy place to make this miraculous claim! And who could blame him? Because of the over-cautious response to the angel’s proclamation, Gabriel made Zechariah mute until his wife Elizabeth named the boy, ‘John.’ (Every wife’s dream I suppose.)
In conclusion, I would have to ask, “Whenever did age, logic, or even understanding become criteria in whether a person could be used by God to turn the world upside down?” Be careful for what you ask for this Christmas… this world needs some major league changing, and you might be asked to be part of God’s amazing band of disciples to get His work done!
See you in Church,
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