THE SIGN OF SILENCE
Loving Lord, I’m so grateful that each day you treat me with your mercy, patience, and unfailing love.*
Read LUKE 1:18-25
18 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”
19 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. 20 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.”
21 Meanwhile, the people were waiting for Zechariah and wondering why he stayed so long in the temple. 22 When he came out, he could not speak to them. They realized he had seen a vision in the temple, for he kept making signs to them but remained unable to speak.
23 When his time of service was completed, he returned home. 24 After this his wife Elizabeth became pregnant and for five months remained in seclusion. 25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectHow do you feel about silence? Do you thrive on it? Or is it something to be avoided at all costs? Take a minute to quietly explore your feelings.
Have you ever played the party game Charades and got really frustrated trying to make people understand your mimes? Next time, think of Zechariah…What a day this was for him. Pretty much minding his own business, doing what he had to do, he was then silenced by an angel for asking a perfectly reasonable question (v 18)! All he wants is some proof that this apparent impossibility will happen. And he ends up losing his voice (v 20). He wasn’t expecting that.
Fortunately, his listeners are receptive to his mimes and don’t just think he has lost the plot. He is obviously held in high esteem. Silence is good for him. It gives him the time, along with Elizabeth in the seclusion of her pregnancy, to reflect on the past faithfulness of God, the wonder of his own son, and the wonder of the future. He and Elizabeth are a well-matched couple, grown together in love and knowledge of God over the years, but each with their own role to play. How much we can learn from their relationship with God and with each other.
What ways other than words can we use to convey God’s message of love? Reflect on how, at this season, we might share our joy at the birth of Jesus. Perhaps an invitation to join us in worship or at home?
Faithful One, you are just in all your ways, and faithful to your promises. Help me to trust you in the difficult times when things don’t seem to be working out for me.
*Charles Wesley, 1707-88
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