Read Malachi 3:1-4,23-24, Ps. 25:4-5,8-9,10,14, Luke 1:57-66

“He asked for a writing tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God.” (Luke 1:63-64)

In today’s first reading, the prophet Malachi writes: “Lo, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me… he is like a refiner’s fire, or like the fuller’s lye. He will sit refining and purifying silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi, refining them like gold or like silver that they may offer due sacrifice to the Lord.” As much as Christmas is a season of merriment, it is also a moment for refining our hearts.

Zechariah is an example of one whose heart was refined in the events leading up to the birth of Jesus. As a result of his doubt, God took away his power of speech, forcing him to observe a period of silence. Zachariah’s nine-month silence gave him time for reflection (the refinery of the heart).

When his power of speech returned, Zachariah sang praises to God. Instead of complaining, he sang a song of thanksgiving. Zechariah learnt to be grateful. He also had his faith in God reawakened during that period of silence. Like crude oil in the refinery, Zechariah came out as different.

Silence is powerful. We can use silence to refine, that is, to cleanse our hearts of various impurities. How? Silence helps us to listen more. Very often, solutions to our problems stare at us in the face, but we are too noisy and so distracted with our thoughts that we do not listen or ponder what God is saying to us through others.

Let us learn to be silent, even if it is just for a few minutes every day. And as we celebrate Christmas, it would help to play Zechariah by taking time for quiet reflection.

The birth of John the Baptist was a turning moment for the entire community. All those who attended the naming ceremony wondered: “What would this child turn out to be?” They must have gone home trying to answer this question.

There was something different about this child. Each of us has a unique destiny. You were born for a purpose; living has no meaning until you discover your purpose. You were not born to pass the time and then die. You were born for a purpose. The good news is that learning to stay silent will make your purpose clearer.

Let us pray: Almighty, ever-living God, cleanse my heart and make me new. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (23 December. Bible Study: Malachi 3:1-4,23-24, Ps. 25:4-5,8-9,10,14, Luke 1:57-66)

@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu