Full of Grace (27)

Namaste! It’s been a few weeks since my last posting of Full of Grace and of course that means I am behind my original schedule, but such is life. I have questions and ideas and some reorganization to take care of, but once I get into the swing of things, I should be able to finish this tale – because it is a good one. Anyway, if you’re new to the story, you can click here to read it from the beginning; and if you’re enjoying it, please share it with a friend. 

* * *

Still holding the tablet, Zechariah mouths the words that flow so easily from his soul:

His name is John.

This is what the malakh Gabriel had stated, had tried to tell him so many months ago and he dared to doubt the Almighty.

His name is John.

Now he was a father and the child, his child, was perfect.

His name is John.

He had doubted once, never again.

“His name is John.”

The voice speaking is hoarse, aged, unrecognizable. It fills the room and silences everyone.

“His name is John.”

Zechariah looks at the shocked faces around him. No one is speaking, and all are staring at him with amazement in their eyes…even Elizabeth. He meets her gaze, still mouthing the response requested of him. Her expression softens and she smiles.

“His name is John.”

In the silence of the room, Zechariah realizes he is the one talking. It had been a year since he had heard his voice and in his guilt, he had forgotten what he sounded like. Still, that matters none. Just as Gabriel had spoken, his voice was back. Just as Gabriel had promised, he was a father and his son…his son.

Zechariah lets the tablet fall from his hands and he raises his arms upward, praising the G-d who had not just heard, but answered his prayers.

“Thank you, G-d,” he states, pouring out all the gratitude his heart holds. Those in the room, from the old priest to the youngest child, hold their tongues, listening, their eyes wide with astonishment. “Praise be to you, L-rd, G-d of Israel. You have come to your people and redeemed them. You have raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as you said through your holy prophets of long ago, salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— to show mercy to our ancestors and to remember his holy covenant, the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

“And you, my child,” Zechariah states, as he walks over to his brother. He reaches for the child and takes him in his arms, holding him close to his bosom. The child whimpers, but is otherwise calm, tightly swaddled in his blanket. Zechariah was a fool to doubt G-d. This was a blessing that only G-d could give. He turns to Elizabeth, her face beaming with pride. He decides she is more beautiful now than the day he first laid eyes on her and moves over to her. His gaze falls upon Mary, Elizabeth’s young niece, and though he has only had his wife’s word on the matter, he knows the burden Mary carries – no, the blessing she has been chosen for, a blessing similar to his and Elizabeth’s, but much, much greater.

Zechariah turns his attention back to his son and continues, his voice cracking with emotion, “You, my son, will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, guide our feet into the path of peace.”

Elizabeth rests her hand on his shoulder. He looks into her eyes and sees the smile that had brought him peace these many years. The child – John – sighs loudly and settles in his arms to sleep. And the hush that had spread over the room was lifted. All the people move forward, talking at once, wanting to know what manner of child this was, that G-d’s hand should rest so strongly on him, on Zechariah and on Elizabeth.

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