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And immediately his (Zechariah's) mouth was opened and
his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God (Luke 1:64).
Read Luke 1:64-66.
Squeezing together at Christmas time can put a strain on
even the closest of families. Cutting words can splinter and
scar a family for years. Perhaps this Christmas will see
empty places around your table -- and deep regret in your
Zechariah knew that regret well. Nine long months went by
since he spoke a word. Out of disappointment he last used
his voice to blurt out his doubts about the angel's promise.
Over the months his faith has been restored by the
wonderful things he has seen and experienced, but his last
words still echo in his mind.
But along with that echo are the words of the angel, "You
will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these
things take place" (Luke 1:20). One by one everything the
angel predicted has occurred, and now the last piece has
fallen into place: the child has been named John. In an
instant God restores his speech. And the first words from
Zechariah's mouth are words of blessing for the great
things God has done.
Each of us carries regret over hasty words we have said.
Perhaps you regret something you said to a loved one
now gone. Just remember Jesus Christ came in the
manger to win forgiveness for that sin. Because He died
and rose again, we have new hope and new life. It's a hope
that through Christ Jesus our fractured relationships will be
repaired. We hope for this to take place in this life but even
if it doesn't, for all who believe, it will in the never-ending life
we will enjoy together when Jesus Christ returns.

 Heavenly Father, heal the wounds I caused by my hasty,
hurting words; restore the relationships I have damaged,
and fill me with peace and joy for Jesus' sake. I pray in His
Name. Amen.
(Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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