The angel said, “Do not be frightened, Zechariah; your prayer has
been heard . .. joy and gladness will be yours.” Luke 1:5-25
Zechariah was a good person. He prayed daily and never missed the times of public worship. But his faith was not strong enough to admit that God could love him personally. He resisted God’s love as soon as it meant that he had to change his understanding of reality. Elizabeth and he were old. God “couldn’t” give them a son. He also decided there wasn’t much real joy and gladness in his world. When the angel told him, “Your prayer has been heard; joy and gladness will be yours,” he couldn’t
believe this either. He was reprimanded for his lack of faith. Yet, he was also blessed. He was blessed with gladness even when he did not believe it could really happen. Zechariah blesses us with the same warning he was given and with the same assurance he now enjoys.
ZECHARIAH SPEAKS TO YOU
“Blessed are you, this Christmas, if you do as I did, not as I said. Keep praying for joy and gladness, even when life’s circumstances tell you it can’t happen. Don’t give up Mass or public worship just because you’re ‘not getting anything out of it.’ I continued even after all hope for answered prayers was gone. But don’t fall away from faith as I did. Nothing is impossible for divine love. And if God wishes to fill you with joy and gladness, this year, then let it happen! Blessed are you if you allow for God’s delightfulness.”
Jesus, my Lord, give me the blessing given Zechariah, and let me never doubt your love. Help me accept graciously all the joy and gladness you want to give. Stop me from dwelling on feelings of futility, annoyance, or frustration. Help me reclaim my own goodness done for others, and from these sources of remembered kindnesses let me prepare for Christmas. Amen.