Today is the Feast of the Birth of John the Baptist. This is a great day to be in Quebec where it is a holiday, and everyone visits around in their Sunday best; and in the evening a great crowd gathers for a tremendous bonfire on the Plains of Abraham.
Luke’s account of the great day focuses on Zechariah, the infant’s father. Nine months before he had had the great honor of being chosen by lot to enter the Holy Place to burn incense before the Lord. The Angel Gabriel appeared to him there, telling him that he and his old wife Elizabeth were to be the parents of a son who would go before the Lord “in the spirit and the power of Elijah.”
As delighted as he was at the Angel’s words, Zechariah thought it practical to tell the angel that old people like him and his wife couldn’t go about having kids. For his showing a lack of belief, Gabriel struck the old man dumb, and Zechariah remained dumb through his wife’s pregnancy, and through Mary’s three month stay with them, and through the birth. He was dumb up to the day of the boy’s circumcision when relatives were about to name the child Zechariah after his father.
I like to imagine Zechariah's tenderness when holding his boy he said, “You child will be called the Prophet of the Most High.”