Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb. And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”
Do not fear! Calm down! These words spoken by the angel Gabriel were meant to extinguish Zechariah’s fear. Staring into the face of the celestial being would have been cause for alarm, don’t you think? Then the news … your wife is going to have a baby … after all these years. I really can’t blame Zechariah for doubting.
When the angel appeared to Zechariah, He was standing at the Altar of Incense in the temple just outside of the Holy of Holies where the presence of the Lord dwelt. As he stood there performing his priestly duties, I imagine he was praying. He was in the very presence of God at the moment Gabriel appeared because when we pray we enter into communion with the One True God.
What are you doubting today? Do you need to hear the angel’s message … fear not! Calm down! Don’t rush about! Enjoy this holiday season! Perhaps spending some time in the presence of Jesus in prayer each morning will help you maintain a calm, relaxed focus during the season.
Lord, I don’t want to be fearful or fretful. I want to trust You in all things and at all times. I want to enjoy this season that celebrates Your Son’s birth. Keep me focussed on You so that I can remain in Your presence. I love You, Lord, amen.
Delighting in Him …