I don't think I had the words to express it before this Sunday, but it turns out I've been feeling a bit "Zechariah" this advent. Enjoying the carols and readings and the twinkly lights, but not really feeling part of the celebrating. Karen described how John the Baptist's father was mute during the 9 months before his birth; how that feels when you can't converse with those around you - you're watching what's taking place, but not participating. Seeing, but not interacting.
For a number of known and unknown reasons this season, I just haven't felt the feelings you're supposed to feel during Advent. But church today was so reassuring. Christmas doesn't need me to feel a certain way. Just like Zechariah was called on to be a witness instead of a participant, sometimes that's just what we're called to be, too.
By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Zechariah's song leads us out of ourselves and into God's presence in the world. I'm thankful for the characters we've been getting to know this Advent: Elizabeth and Mary and Zechariah. They were witnesses to God's presence and responded with love and excitement for God's plan. And that's all we're called to do, too.