When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
No. He will be called John.
But they answered her,
There is no one among your relatives who has this name.
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
What, then, will this child be?
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.
The peace of the Lord be with you.
I don’t very often stop to think about the cost associated with my moments of disbelief. As we see with Elizabeth giving birth at an advanced age, her husband’s disbelief does not stop God’s plan. God’s plan continues independent of his lack of belief or cooperation. What we do see is that it robs Zachariah of some of his power, some of his abilities, and his ability to communicate. Ultimately, because he sees God’s plan at work, his disbelief is transformed into understanding.
As we see in this Gospel passage today, that moment of understanding allows him once again to be freed to live more fully among his contemporaries and in harmony with God’s plan for he and Elizabeth. At the moment his gifts are restored perhaps with even a greater sense of appreciation. As we live out these final days of advent 2020 may we continue to examine our lives closely — examining the cost of our liabilities, and then ask God for his assistance, healing, and transformation.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.