“So they made signs to his father–what he would have him called. And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, ‘His name is John.’ So they all marveled. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God.” (Luke 1:62-64 NKJV)
Zacharias had made a mistake when he questioned the angel who announced the forthcoming birth of John. It’s hard to blame him, if you think about it. He and his wife, Elizabeth, were a bit old to have kids. But they’d been praying for a child, and when Gabriel told him his prayer was answered, he had a hard time believing it. He was struck mute until everything that Gabriel had said came true. It could only come true if Zacharias believed and obeyed Gabriel’s words. When the baby was born, Zacharias took advantage of his second chance, letting all those well meaning friends know that the baby was supposed to be named John. When the last part of Gabriel’s prophecy came true Zacharias received his voice again and he used it in the best way possible: praising God.
We all have regrets about things we did that we shouldn’t have done, or things we should have done that we didn’t do. I doubt that you were ever struck mute because of those mistakes, but I’m guessing you probably didn’t want to talk about that missed opportunity. I don’t like to brag about what I did wrong, or didn’t do right. Zacharias got a second chance to do the right thing, and he took advantage of that. God gives lots of second chances, and third chances, and even more if we need them. John came to give the people of Israel a second chance to turn back to God, and prepare the way of the Messiah, Jesus, who came to give all people the chances they need to develop a relationship with God. When we live in a restored relationship with God, then we can, as Zacharias did, praise God.
Lord, thank You for all the chances You gave me to come to You. Thank You for the miracle of Christmas time when we celebrate Jesus’ first coming to earth so that we could have the chances we need. Thank You for the promise of Jesus’s second coming. May all people take advantage of those chances so that they can praise You and be ready for Jesus’s return.