December 15 - Silent Night
Reflection by Katie Black, student at Iliff School of Theology
Have you ever been 'in the know' around Christmastime? Perhaps a friend or a family member let slip to you a very special Christmas present, but you are sworn to secrecy before the day begins? You watch as the days go by, as small hints are dropped, that no one but those 'in the know' could possibly get. And then the day arrives, and you watch almost with the same anticipation as you would if you were the giver, because, by that point, you had played such an active role in the entire surprise. You have a stake in how it turns out. You are a witness to the events unfolding!
I imagine Zechariah knows this feeling all too well. Luke tells us that his silence was because he questioned Gabriel, and didn't believe the message that was given to him. But Zechariah is identified as a witness to the glorious events that are to unfold. What sounds like a punishment ends up being the opportunity of a lifetime: to shut up for once and watch God work! We know Zechariah was a priest. We know he had been appointed to go into the sanctuary of God to offer incense, which was a very special job that was only given to the priest who was divinely chosen (via casting lots). But that day, Zechariah was chosen for something more. Not only was he selected to bring offering to God, he was also selected to witness God in action. God would grant his prayers to have a child. Elizabeth, his love, would no longer be considered unworthy, a disgrace, or less than by her peers.
Zechariah knows, and though he cannot speak, he gets to watch God work.
This season, I want to remind us all of what Zechariah knows. Don't be so caught up in preaching God that you forget to look for God's work. Don't forget to breathe, and remember who put that breath in your lungs. When you're ready to scream out in impatience at the long line in front of you (why is it that city populations seem to double in December?) remember who gives you the ability to speak. Remember who gives you the power to witness. What are you witnessing this season? Are you only seeing people as they pass you by, or are you witnessing God's child, and all they are to this world?
Are you ready to shut up for once, and watch God work around you and through you?
Open our eyes, that we may see.
O Come O Come, Emmanuel.
Katie Black is an MDiv student at Iliff School of Theology. She is recognized as one of this year's New Faces of Ministry. To read more about Katie and her goals for ministry, click here.
Located in beautiful Denver, Colorado, Iliff School of Theology offers a number of degree programs that integrate faith and service, including the Masters of Divinity, Master of Arts in Social Justice and Ethics (MASJE), and Master of Arts in Pastoral and Spiritual Care.
Iliff is recognized as one of this year's Seminaries that Change the World. To learn more about Iliff and it's programs, visit their website at www.iliff.edu, or view Iliff's Seminaries that Change the World Profile.