Advent Thought for Saturday 5th December

Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

The angel said to him, “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: 18 – 19

I don’t think it’s an accident that only Zechariah was struck speechless. Of all the characters in the Christmas Story, Zechariah was by far the best educated. He was a priest, a man born into his job, trained from childhood to know the Scriptures inside out. Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth, the Shepherds, even the Wise Men, none of them were as learned and  knowledgeable as Zechariah. And yet it is Zechariah who loses his words. He cannot question what is happing, analyse it or test it. He is forced to stop talking and simply watch what is happening.

Knowledge is, obviously, a good thing. Having a good understanding and being able to put things in context is valuable. But sometimes we need to shut our mouths and just experience what is happening. There is a time for questioning and analysis, but there is also a time to simply watch in awe and wonder.

Prayer: Living God, help me this year to appreciate the miracle of Christmas. Help me know when it is time to shut my mouth and just observe the wonderful things in front of me.

Act: Take some time to observe in silence. It could be something beautiful and incredible, or something ordinary, but have a few minutes where you just look and listen.

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