Christmas in Their Shoes: Zechariah

After hours of waiting I finally heard the shrill sound of my first born baby’s cry fill the room. I could hear voices saying “It’s a boy!” and “What will he be named?” Then the sound of shock and confusion as my wife, Elizabeth, states that the boy’s name is to be John. I enter the room frustrated that I have no means of speaking out that my wife is telling the truth. Let me explain.

You see, nine months ago, I was given the honor of offering the yearly prayers of the people in the Holiest of Holies, the inner most part of the Temple where the spirit of Yahweh lives. I went through all the rituals to make sure that I would not be struck dead for having the wrong intentions and entered the Holiest of Holies. Upon entering, I was confronted by Gabriel, an angel of the LORD. He was standing just to the right of the incense alter and gave me a message I will never forget. My wife was going to have a child and we were to name him John and he would be a great man of the LORD persuading many to return to the ways of our faith.

In wonderment, and in hindsight maybe foolish disbelief, I asked how that were to be since both of us are very old. Oh I paid for that disbelief. I haven’t been able to talk since my encounter with Gabriel and I had yet to return outside to report to the people. When I did finally return there was great wonderment among those gathered. Since then, I have become very good at writing and using hand gestures.

I gestured for something to write with and wrote out the words “His name is John.” Instantly the matter was settled and suddenly I could talk. There is a tradition among my people that children are named after someone in our family line, thus the confusion over Elizabeth’s announcement that his name was to be John as there is no one, and I mean no one, by the name of John in our family. We must be the oldest people since Abraham and Sarah to give birth to our firstborn at this age.

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