In today’s Gospel reading, Zechariah, fearful and doubtful, is struck mute when the angel tells him that Elizabeth, his wife, and he will bear a son, John the Baptist.
In a sermon on the passage, cited in Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas, the evangelical theologian Karl Barth reminds us that God is the one working in us and sometimes our plans are turned upside down and we can hardly explain what has happened.
Barth also notes:
“We must once and for all give up trying to be self-made individuals. Let us cease preaching by ourselves, being right by ourselves, doing good by ourselves, improving the world by ourselves. God wants to do everything, certainly through us and with us and never without us; but our participation in what he does must naturally originate and grow out of his power, not ours. O, how we could then speak with one another.”
Mute before others, let us ask God to work and speak through us.