The Power of Silence

Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

—Luke 1:67-79

He was not the first Zechariah to prophesy the mercy of God and deliverance from enemies. It had been some five hundred years since the writing of the prophetic book from which his name derived, and nine months since he had been able to speak. Perhaps in those months of enforced silence he had found himself listening not only to the Holy Spirit but to his people as well, and perhaps he heard their laments as they labored under the harsh hand of the occupier. We will never know; but those nine months of silence brought Zechariah to obedience—nine months of silence that broke like the sudden and forceful eruption of a geyser. In that moment he recognized that his own son would be a prophet to usher in the reign of the Prince of Peace. “A light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it.”

PRACTICE: You are invited this day to sit in silence for some time. To ponder. What is it that God puts before you to recognize in this season of your waiting? What is it that God is waiting for you to recognize? How can you proclaim that to the world in celebration the arrival of the Christ Child? —Kelli Parrish Lucas

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