We’re all familiar with Ebenezer Scrooge, the main character of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Scrooge is a lonely, angry, bitter, old man who hates Christmas. But he has a change of heart on Christmas Eve, when he is visited by three spirits who show him what will happen if he doesn’t turn his life around. When Scrooge wakes up on Christmas morning, he is a different man. He says: “I am as light as a feather. I am as happy as an angel. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A merry Christmas to everybody!”
In today’s Gospel, Zechariah has also been changed. He speaks for the first time in nine months, after being struck dumb for doubting the angel’s prophecy that he would have a son. Zechariah had always been a religious man, he was a priest, but he seems to have had little faith that God would, or could, intervene in his life. Now he is prophesying, praising God, and letting everyone know of the coming Messiah and of his son, John, who will prepare the way.
Amid the hubbub of this final day of Advent, we may ask ourselves whether we are ready for Christmas. Or perhaps, like Zechariah, we should ask whether we believe that God can still work in our lives? Christmas is not just another feast or holiday. Through celebrating the Nativity of his Son, God wants to increase our faith. And he wants to give us an expectant faith.
And so, at Mass tonight and tomorrow morning, we should turn to God with a sense of hope and expectation. It’s never too late for miracles to happen. Just ask Ebenezer Scrooge, or Zechariah. We should ask God for our own miracle. It may be for healing, or for an increase of grace in our lives. It could be for strength to overcome some persistent problem. We must let the magnitude of Our Lord’s Nativity make us bold and confident; for the Messiah is coming, and nothing will ever be the same again.