His name is John writes Zechariah because they would not believe Elizabeth. Why is it when she spoke what God knew nobody wanted to believe her? No, those gathered deferred to the man, to the priest, hoping that he would then bring common sense to this situation. Those who had rejoiced with her that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her were now annoyed with her. They knew better than God. Why do we do that to people? Why do we question that they know best?
As Zechariah’s tongue was freed and he could begin to speak, he praised God. That’s when fear came over all his neighbors and they pondered what the child would become. It was only at that point that they stopped questioning the parents and realized that the hand of the Lord was truly upon them. When God is at work, sometimes things just don’t make sense. I’m sure for others watching, myself included, it can be incredibly puzzling. Yet why do we not believe that our God is a God of miracles. Our God is also a God who knows each and every one of us by our names. Our God whispers to each one of us by name the divine will that we are to do in accordance with the kingdom.
An Angel had appeared to Zechariah and now the words of the angel were becoming reality. Now all the unbelief fell away–from Zechariah and the crowds. Gabriel himself, the angel of the Lord, had spoken and the fruits of those words were blossoming. How many times do we doubt that angels speak to us during the day? How many times do we doubt that they speak to others? Perhaps the gift of the season is to reclaim that angels are alive and well and bringing good news to each one of us.
Zechariah knows that his child John has a holy purpose in life. He is named by God and he is called to be a prophet of the Most High. He will go before the Lord to prepare his way. He, John, will guide our feet unto the path of peace and give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Our God gave him no small task. Our God who calls each of us by name gives each of us no small task in helping to bring about the kingdom of God. As we come before the cradle this Christmas may we know that we are named, loved, and given an extraordinary task of bringing Light to those in the darkness and guiding feet unto the way of peace. Can we believe that an angel of God whispered our name and gave us such a task?
When was the last time you were visited by an angel of God?
What task do you think you are given by God to complete here on earth?
Creator God, you call each one of us by name to help prepare the way of the Lord. Help me to listen for your voice so that I may bring those who sit in darkness to the Light and guide all those I encounter onto the path of peace. Amen.