Were you bitter, Zechariah? Many fruitless years had you
asked and asked God for a child, just to see your prayers fall through?
Standing slack-jawed at the altar, towering o’er you, Gabriel’s face:
not a chance you could have doubted God’s real power in that place.
But those dark years were your downfall, and your anger was your sin.
Now’s my chance, your sad heart whispered, Just to get one good dig in.
“It’s too late — You should have given us a baby long ago!”
Any man could understand it, but not the angel Gabriel.
Bitter mouths ought to be silenced, so the angel struck you dumb.
And so, dazed and unhappy, out into the light you come.
In a comedy of errors, Luke says you “kept making signs,”
till those gathered came to realize God had come to you inside.
Sometimes silence is a blessing. Yours was not empty but full
as you watched your once-hard neighbors come to wish Elizabeth well,
like an acorn dead below ground till its time comes to unfurl.
Nine months dumb, your mouth was ready to unsay its bitter ways:
Ready to croon to a baby, ready to explode in praise.