I wrote the following thoughts for a Christmas Eve service a few years back. The story surrounding Christ’s birth is rich soil for contemplating parenthood.
After praying and waiting and hoping for years, a faithful servant, you couldn’t believe it when the angel came to you. You could not believe the good news, and for your unbelief you were made silent. It almost seems unfair.
But Zechariah, your heart is humbled. And your silence brings you closer to God as He speaks to you in your quiet. There is so much for you to hear. Your son will eat locust and draw people to repentance and make straight paths for the Lord.
You are silent as you watch your wife of many years grow wide about the waste. You are silent as you hear her at the door greet Mary and bless her. You are silent, yet your heart sings because you, too, feel your son leap for joy as he is filled with the Spirit in the womb.
Your silence is a pregnant pause—a time of waiting before labor, before birth, before the coming of the messenger and the coming of our Lord. I long for such a silence, the last rebuke before rebirth.