By Ted Jungkuntz

I’ve gradually become more and more like Zechariah, an “old priest.”  Even the shirt I’m wearing identifies me as old.  This shirt has probably been in my closet for almost 40 years, and I’m already more than twice that old.

As an “old priest,” I can be, and often am, as stubborn as a mule.  Or as a friend once described me, I’m as stubborn as a “bulldog.”  – Once I latch on to something, I’m reluctant to let it go.

Christmas magic gift box and a happy family mother and babyZechariah was like that. – He latched on to a desire – the desire to have a son. For years and years they tried – and always, nothing.  Just barren, fruitless, desert!  Desert that brought with it shame and a certain alienation.

Now finally at this point in his life, Zechariah didn’t even feel like trying anymore; You know, even bulldogs can tell when their teeth are falling out!

So – what Oliver Wendell Holmes, a former Justice of the Supreme Court, once said, almost happened to Zechariah.  Homes said:

“Most people go to their graves with their music still inside them.”

Should I repeat that? . . .

In other words – people often die before they get to live out their passion or see their dreams come true.

Hmmm – there a stage note here.  – It says:

Enter stage from God’s throne, the angel Gabriel:

“Congratulations, Zechariah!  Better get some cigars to share with your buddies.  You and Elizabeth are going to have a son.  God has heard your prayers!

“O Gabriel!  How can I be sure of this?  I’m an old man now and what you’re saying was only the dream and desire of an overly ambitious young man – more ambitious than his modest gifting warranted.”

Gabriel responds:

“Because you didn’t believe God’s Word as I gave it to you, you’ll be speechless with amazement, while you chew on this promise, waiting for it to happen.”

Brothers and Sisters, young and old:

What in all of this is also for you?  – God knows the “music” that’s still inside of you.  He knows the places where your life hasn’t turned out the way you hoped.  In the midst of your disillusionment or weariness, he breaks in. He has heard your prayers.  

He wants you to put your “passion” into practice.  But even more importantly, he wants you to trust His promise that He will fulfill the purpose He has for you.

God loves all of us Zechariahs, no matter whether we are still young or finally pushing our way “over the hill;” whether we are overly ambitious or whether we are doubting ourselves, when Alzheimer’s and forgetfulness set in.

God will keep His promise.  God still wants to use us – use us to point people to Jesus, the Savior from sin, each in our own unique way, using the “music” within each of us.


[youtube id=”ATfvwyVOhxs” width=”600″ height=”350″]


Editor’s Note: This reflection was the first of five shared in worship at the 7:30 PM Christmas Eve worship service at St. Luke–Ann Arbor. Special thanks to Pastor Ted for writing and sharing these words. 

The rest of the reflections can be found here:  MaryJosephThe ShepherdsJesus.