The Visitation (Luke 1:39-45)
My name is Zechariah. This scene occurs in my house, but I do not speak. I cannot speak, not since that day the angel met me in the temple; not since the day I was given the amazing news: A son. A son! When Elizabeth and I are "getting on in years" (as I politely informed the angel), when we are, quite bluntly, too old.
Now here they are in my house, rejoicing, rubbing each other's bellies: Elizabeth, who is too old, and her cousin Mary, who is too young, and too soon pregnant. I must admit - if
pregnancy had happened before
miraculous pregnancy, I, too, would have been suspicious. I, too, might have joined the crowd, winking and whispering behind her back.
But now I see them together, here in my house, radiant and joyous, laughing! And I am afraid. Call it an old man's worries, but, yes, I am afraid. If these children are to be special, as the angel Gabriel promised, that means their paths will be hard. Those who go their own ways must forge their own paths, through wilderness and often through pain. My son, I am told, is to be a prophet, to prepare the way of the Lord. Well! I am a priest; I have studied the scriptures. I know how the prophets were treated.
I am afraid, but I cannot speak, because I doubted the angel's word. I cannot speak my fear, and - who knows? - perhaps that is best. Why dampen their joy, begrudge their laughter? Let them hug and smile and wonder.
And so, we wait: joyous and yet afraid. They laughing and chattering; I mute. And so, we wait, wondering what awesome thing, what wondrous children, what frightening future is growing right here, in my house, in our midst, in their bodies?
Silently, I wait.