Here is another part of the Nativity Narrative that I have discovered when reading it again. Zachariah the priest and bother-in-law of Mary had a visit from the Angel Gabriel with news that his wife Elizabeth would bear a son. This news was met with incredulity and doubt; this led to the Angel saying, "I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.” (Luke 1:19-20)
The two things I noticed were firstly, the Angel stood in the presence of God, and secondly Zachariah's doubt led to his enforced silence.
Zechariah, lived a dedicated and blameless life. He served on that day as a priest before God, as on any other day. He attended scrupulously to the rites of purification. But nothing prepared him for a direct encounter with God. He never thought that his hope of a child would be answered. This leads me to ponder, 'I a bit like you?’
How much do we live life by simply doing what needs to be done or what is expected of us? Can we own our lives more, claiming the grace of the moment? Can we address our God as if we know that God can hear us? Can we love our dear ones as if we might never see them again? Poor Zechariah, given a second chance, might have hugged the angel, because the encounter promised him ‘joy and gladness’.
Help us to see your truth as the only truth. When our flesh begins to pull away, God, pull us back with reminders of who you are and who you call us to be. Jesus, remind us each day that you are the way, you are the truth, and you are life. By your grace, we live freely in who you are, and may we always celebrate that and follow you.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.