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Read Luke 1:19-20. TEXT: (Gabriel said) "And behold, you
will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these
things take place, because you did not believe my words
(Luke 1:20a).

Advent 2015 What could possibly cause Zechariah to
challenge the angel's wonderful promise? Is he trying to
protect himself from further disappointment? Is he nursing
his grief or shielding his shattered dreams?

Our heartaches and bitter grief can close our ears to the
good news that in the Christ Child born in Bethlehem God
Himself has come to forgive us and heal the brokenness of
our lives. Our fears can steal our hope, dim our confidence,
and blind us to the joyous light of our Lord's presence
among us. They can smother the joy of Christmas.

The angel quickly silences the doubts of the aged priest.
"I am Gabriel." Surely, hearing that name must have made
a deep impression on Zechariah. Gabriel first appeared in
the Bible between 550 and 600 years before, bringing
several divine messages to the great prophet Daniel (see
Daniel 8:15-26; 9:20-27).

But the angel goes beyond his famous name Gabriel. He
adds, "I stand in the presence of God." Gabriel didn't make
up this gracious message. It came straight from the mouth
of God Himself. "I was sent to speak to you and to bring
you this good news."

The punishment for Zechariah's unbelief will be difficult--to
watch all these wonderful things unfold before him--but to
remain speechless.

This Christmas we again hear the good tidings of great joy--
God's own Son has been born for you, for me, for all. Don't
cling to past doubts, anger or disappointment like Zechariah,
but take God at His Word and amazing wonders will unfold
before your eyes.


 Heavenly Father, break through my disbelief and fear and
open my eyes to the wonder of Your Son, Jesus Christ, my
Lord. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

(By Rev. Wayne Palmer Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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