Zechariah’s Song

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Christmas card images of that long ago time when Jesus came into the world are indelibly etched into my mind. I know they are probably not very accurate pictures of how it all went down on that first Christmas, but, in truth, I don’t really care. Accurate or not, I love and cherish those hallmark card images. In my mind’s eye I see wise men atop camels pointing at a distant star, Joseph leading a donkey, pregnant Mary on its back, awestruck shepherds, a choir of angels, and, of course, the baby Jesus in a manger. However, when Luke endeavors to “write an orderly account” of these events he begins with a man I don’t often associate with the Christmas story and have never seen depicted on a Christmas card. In fact, not only do I not often think of this man in connection with Christmas I rarely think about him at all. He was a man named Zechariah. We all know that Mary and the Shepherds had encounters with angelic beings, but so did Zechariah. In fact, his came first.

Zechariah’s encounter with an angel would break over four hundred years of silence during which God had not spoken to His people. During that long span of years there had been no prophets, no angels, and no new revelation from God, but then, suddenly and quite unexpectedly God breaks his silence and who does he talk to first? Zechariah.