This week, we get to read the Song of Zechariah, the loosened tongue of a man whose loins have finally produced an heir after decades of longing and loss; the praise of a priest who was struck dumb by the appearance of an angel who predicted this child, whom he did not, could not believe; the faith of a family man who has finally come home to his wife, his son, his God, a priest provoked into faith finally by the birth of a child.
This is the poem I wrote last year for Zechariah:
Tongue-tied and frozen,
teeth on a knife-edge,
overwhelmed and overcome;
if he could have spoken,
told them what he had seen,
where would he find the words?
This year, he wrote his own Advent canticle, and sang it as a lullaby to his sleeping son:
The Song of Zechariah (after Luke 1: 68-79)
When I saw you I knew, for once and finally, that it all was true:
the old stories in which God wins, in which God’s people persevere
despite the odds, they are at liberty to be set free because God is good;
he promised them mercy, the ones who followed David, the ones who believed in
round-table relics and legends of power and peace
and the advent of Abraham long, long ago.
When I saw you, I knew, for once and finally, that it all will come true,
in the end,
because your face was brightened by my tears of joy,
and in your eyes the light of the angel’s promise shone,
and the glory of the Lord threatened to break free like the cry of a newborn child.