As Christmas is now less than a week from today, we hear in the gospel the Zachariah in the temple and how the angel Gabriel appeared to him to foretell the birth of John the Baptist. In an indirect way we are reminded of how life doesn't stop for Christmas, despite what advertiser tell you. And by the way if you are Catholic this isn't the Christmas Season. If you are Catholic, or many other branches of Christianity, this is still Advent. The Christmas Season begins on the evening of December 24.
The many problems that people are dealing with in life don't magically go away. In fact, we are two days away from the darkest day of the year. But as we were told in Sunday's second reading we can rejoice always. Not artificial rejoicing but real rejoicing because of the angel. The angel in today's gospel is Gabriel. His name can be translated as "God's strength" or more personally "God is my strength." Our true Joy of the season comes not from carols or lights or trees or presents. Our true Joy comes because we too can claim the name Gabriel.
In the gospel today Zachariah is left mute because he did not believe. His son would not be just any voice but the voice that would announce the coming of the Messiah. The father of the great voice was an old man and by inference feeble. It was not by his strength that his great son, John, would be conceived. God had to be his strength.
Do you really believe in Gabriel, the Strength of God? Are you ready to let go and let God be your strength? Today in your prayer get a clear picture of Gabriel in your mind. As you face the struggles of life, as you face the struggles of this day, do it with Gabriel.