Saturday, December 22, 2018

Advent Angels 22

Finally we come to the angels you may have been waiting for, those involved in the Christmas story!

The first of these is the angel who appears to Zechariah, the angel who identifies himself as Gabriel. Zechariah, like Abraham, has been unable to have a child with his wife, Elizabeth, and they now seem too old. But the angel tells them that God has other ideas. Elizabeth will bear a son. Not only that, but he will be the forerunner to the long awaited Messiah, the man that we will come to know as John the Baptist.

Zechariah is a priest who is on duty in the Temple when this announcement is made. Everyone is waiting for him to emerge from the sanctuary where he is supposed to have been simply offering incense, but he has been struck dumb by the angel, unable to believe what he is hearing. Although he had gone to the Temple to serve God, it is as if he doesn’t really expect that he will actually encounter the divine.

·         When you pray or come to church, do you expect to hear God speak to you in some way? When was the last time that you felt God was speaking to you and how did this happen?

·         Gabriel says that the birth of their son will bring great joy to Zechariah and Elizabeth, yet we know that Herod will eventually execute him to satisfy the whim of his daughter and wife. The birth of children brings the possibility of joy and sorrow – do you think Zechariah and Elizabeth would have felt the same about this news if they had known how the story would end?

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