I have been pondering the silence given to Zachariah as a result of his unbelief. At first, I thought of it as a punishment but perhaps it is not a punishment but the kind of consequence that is packed with invitation. Perhaps Zachariah was given silence as an opportunity to connect with God at a deeper level.
I know that in our frenetic, fast-paced world it is filled with noise and activity. I am sure in Zachariah's world, the pace was slower and there was less media input. But even in his day, perhaps the ability to speak meant that one could engage freely, controlling one's own silence or lack of silence.
Maybe, just maybe the imposed silence was a good thing for Zachariah's spiritual life. Zachariah couldn't really talk about it with the other men of the village. There was no way to brag about the coming child or the divine way the child would come. He had to keep silent. There was nothing really in it for him... no immediate affirmations or kudos. He could not sit at the gate with the other guys and shoot the breeze about politics, religion or work.
But Zachariah could connect with God in the silence and tell God his unspoken thoughts. He could sit quietly and wait for God to speak in the inner-most place. What would silence do for you? this Christmas?
Perhaps silence is almost a fast from the ability to engage and be busy. Perhaps it is a divine invitation to meet with God most high.