Read Luke 1:5-17.
I can’t stop thinking about the angel’s appearance in this passage. We are given a lot of background information about Zechariah. And just as he is lighting the incense, an angel appears. (This makes one wonder: how much of a hand did God have in Zechariah being chosen to burn the incense? If Zechariah hadn’t found himself alone in the sanctuary, would the angel have found another opportunity to deliver this message? Do Zechariah’s fellow priests worry or wonder about him or try to check on him when he doesn’t come right back out?)
“Don’t be afraid,” the angel said. If I were Zechariah, I would still be terrified. And yet, I feel a sense of calm wash over me when I read the angel’s remarks.
“Don’t be afraid. Your prayers have been answered.” To be honest, that angel lays a lot on Zechariah, but I also imagine this experience to be humbling. For a prayer to be answered in such a clear way (for a literal messenger from God to deliver this exciting news) is not a “look at me!” moment for Zechariah. Rather, he finds peace and humility, even amidst the fear he feels at the appearance of this angel and the message they bring.
May we feel peace, even amidst our anger.
May we experience joy, even amidst our sorrow.
May we know hope, even amidst our despair.
May we be humbled, even amidst our fear.
Rev. Jenny Hardin
Campus Minister, UKirk Stillwater
Associate Pastor, First Presbyterian Church (Stillwater, OK)