A reflection for Advent
But the angel said to him, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son…
I can commiserate with Zechariah.
I’m doing my work at the temple and a strange being comes and says don’t be afraid.
Maybe later, after hearing this being’s message, I might think, “Oh, that was an angel.”
But in the moment, I would have been afraid and probably turned in the other direction and moved away quickly.
Still, this “angel” captures my attention,
“My prayer has been heard.”
Maybe I had only ever prayed for one thing, but more likely I would be thinking, “Yeah, that’s great, but which prayer?”
So then the “angel” says, your wife is pregnant, and I’m thinking, “How did that happen?”
By that time, I have probably missed the rest of the message.
At least that is how it would have happened if I were Zechariah.
So what have I learned as I have pondered this scripture?
First, strange beings may actually be messengers from God.
Secondly, when someone gives me a message, I should listen and not back away quickly, or even run because they might bring great joy.
There is an old saying that I have lived by most of my life: The truth will set me free, but first it will make miserable.
I am sure there were many times between John the Baptist’s conception and his ministry as an adult, that Zechariah and Elizabeth said, “What were we thinking? We could have lived our older years peacefully with travel, volunteering, and reading, and we prayed for a baby? What were we thinking?”
Last lesson, when I pray, be prepared for a joyous outcome and lots of misery.
God of great mystery, Hear our prayers and help us understand what it means for us if our prayers are answered. Amen.
by Eleanor A. Hubbard, Ph.D., Cairn Christian Church, Lafayette, Colorado USA