So many famous phrases come from the original Christmas Story in the Bible. You can probably quote lots of them. One of my favorites, though, doesn’t show up on the traditional Christmas card.
It happened a year or so before Jesus was born. We don’t know the exact date. Zechariah, a small town priest, was taking his once-in-a-lifetime turn offering prayers to God in the holiest spot in the Temple.
As usually happens, God flashed in at the most unexpected moment. He sent Gabriel, one of His lead angels, to have a little chat with Zechariah. Gabriel told Zechariah that his wife would have a baby who would prepare the way for the coming Messiah.
Now, Zechariah’s wife Elizabeth was old. And barren. A true curse for a woman in those days. So, Zechariah responded in the way humans have been responding since the Garden of Eden.
“How can I be sure about that?”
I love to picture the next scene. Gabriel is not a cherub from your Hallmark Valentine’s Day card. He is the Chuck Norris of angels. I imagine Gabriel straightening his shoulders and lifting his chin above Zechariah’s head. Gabriel’s folded wings rise out to a span that fills the room. (Can you hear them rustle?)
Then, in a voice that rumbles like Sean Connery, he says, “I am Gabriel, and I stand in the presence of God.”
Gabriel goes ahead and gives a bit of explanation. But his opening line is enough to silence Zechariah until the promised baby is born. It’s as if Gabriel looked at the little, old priest, considered his question, and then said, “Duh.”
Every time I’m faced with the impossible (or the unlikely) I remind myself to Believe God. Not just believe what He said, but to believe Who He is. Gabriel reminds me of that. I hope He will remind you, too.