“I am Gabriel, who stand before God. I was sent to speak to you and to announce to you this good news. But now you will be speechless and unable to talk until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled at their proper time.” – Lk. 1: 19-20

It sounds impossible. Standing right in front of you and telling you with the voice of literally an angel, God’s messenger announces to you your greatest dreams will be realized. How can you not believe every wondrous word? Yet, Zechariah acts so much like I would in his situation in the gospel today. When the angel Gabriel shares news about the son Zechariah will have and his important role, Zechariah cannot recognize this gift God gives him and is rendered mute.

Confession time. I haven’t been present to all of God’s blessings this Advent. Normally a self-proclaimed Christmas fanatic, I find myself deflated on some days and unable to even listen to the jingles of my annual Christmas playlist.

How many times have I failed to realize God’s gifts? Like Zechariah who probably expected that day to be no different from any other, I’ve become so engrossed in my daily life and struggles that when God sends good news and blessings I fail to acknowledge its existence and limitless potential. I choose instead to live in a dull hum. Rather than appreciating friends and family, I nitpick. Rather than enjoying a day at work or school, I drag my feet. Then, when someone shares a blessing with me or invites me to an opportunity to conversation, I cannot be present because I am lost in my soundproof room of a mind.

But when I break down my walls of isolation and disbelief, listening through the opening to angels in my life, ranging from family and friends to a stranger in line at Costco, I find myself mute in a different way. I become awestruck at the melodious tunes I hear. The love from God and others in words and actions, the joy in waiting for Jesus’ birth in smiles and decorations, the hope of a new day filled with a fresh breath and opportunity, the peace of being in communion and celebration with our brothers and sisters this special season; they all sing their unique song. Perhaps taking a step back is what it takes to let things sink in. God’s blessings have and continue to be fulfilled in His time. I pray I take the time to be mute so when the blessings come during Advent and into Christmas, I know it and join in the chorus.

In what ways can I attune myself to recognize and appreciate daily gifts from God better, especially during this season?

Lord, allow me to listen to the angels you have sent in my life. Please grant me the clarity to see Your blessings and join in the song and celebration You prepared for us.

Kevin Nguyen

Photo Credit: BYU Concert Choir