4th Week of Advent
Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24; Psalm 25:4-5, 8-10, 14;Luke 1:57-66
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed, and he spoke blessing God. (Luke 1:64)
Have you ever tried to go a whole day without speaking? It’s hard, isn’t it? Especially in a world that tells us we will be ignored or forgotten if we don’t speak up.
Zechariah had a unique experience with silence. In the face of God’s promise that his aged wife would have a son, he asked one question too many—and God silenced him until the promise was fulfilled. This must have been both embarrassing and very difficult for Zechariah.
Try to picture what this time must have been like for Zechariah and Elizabeth. Here they were, beyond childbearing age, suddenly expecting a new baby. Now add to this the news of Zechariah’s encounter with an angel in the Temple. How their friends and family must have peppered them with questions! But Zechariah couldn’t answer all that easily.
It would have been demanding for him to share his ideas about what God was doing, correct people’s misunderstandings, or even tell them to go away! Most likely, he withdrew and simply spent his days quietly pondering the events that were happening around him.
And what thoughts those must have been! Not only had God given him and Elizabeth a child, he had called their son to prepare the way for the Messiah. And because he was removed from everyday interactions, Zechariah had the opportunity to let it all sink in more deeply than if he had been caught up in conversation with friends and family. Then when his son was born and he could speak, Zechariah was ready to rejoice and to bless God for his goodness.
We are two days away from Christmas. Undoubtedly, the noise around us is getting louder, and not much of it is helping us draw near to God. Today and tomorrow, try to spend a half hour quietly reading Scripture or in silent meditation. Take some time to gaze at the crèche and the cross. God may not be depriving you of the ability to speak, but he does want to speak to you out of the silence. And when it is time to speak, you will join Zechariah in blessing God for his great gift of salvation.
“Silence my mind and heart, Father, and give me the grace to hear your voice.”