13But the angel said to Zechariah, ‘Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. 14You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15for he will be great in the sight of the Lord.

He must never drink wine or strong drink; even before his birth he will be filled with the Holy Spirit. 16He will turn many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17With the spirit and power of Elijah he will go before him, to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’

18Zechariah said to the angel, ‘How will I know that this is so? For I am an old man, and my wife is getting on in years.’

19The angel replied, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to gabrielyou and to bring you this good news. 20But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.’

Having waited for so many years for the gift of a child, the “joy and gladness” the angel promised must have seemed like foreign territory for Zechariah. How could he believe these strange angel words?

I do not find it easy to hear “good news.” Doubt is always close at hand. The nagging question, “Could this be real?” is a nearby companion.

It is hard to let my heart rest into the “good news” the angel brings. My “disobedient heart” resists “the wisdom of the righteous.” I am not sure I am “ready… prepared for the Lord.”

Can I see my doubts and allow them to be as they are, but prevent them from becoming my primary identity?

What practices might help my heart open and soften to the good news of blessing the angels in my life announce?

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