We live in a noisy time. Between cell phone calls, whatever we have playing through Pandora, and the constant stream of noise that can come from the TV, we don’t get much silence. We even demand silence before our noise. You know the cheesy “turn-off your cell phone and don’t talk to the person next to you” video that plays before a movie starts. And we only notice all that noise if we can hear it over the sound of our own voices. All this noise makes Zechariah an interesting person to reflect on today.
Today’s gospel offers us the annunciation of John the Baptist, Zechariah’s response, and the temporary removal of his gift of speech. Why was he muted? Gabriel told him it happened, “because you did not believe my words.” Gabriel wasn’t being vindictive. Instead, Gabriel taught Zechariah the importance of silence to belief, or more plainly, “It is easier to trust God when we shut up and listen.”
So as we approach Christmas, and our lives likely get louder and louder, let’s force ourselves to take some time for silence. Silence the phone, the computer, the TV, and even our mouths. Allow ourselves to listen more than we speak; to God, to others, and even to ourselves. Do this with the intention that God helps deepen our belief in the Incarnation. Our belief that God took on flesh like ours and entered into this world of noise and business. I hope that instead of coming to Christmas Mass asking “How do we know this really happened?” We can make the honest prayer, “Lord, I believe you came and dwelt (tabernacled) among us, help me truly believe that you still dwell with us today, and to recognize you where I find you.”