The Angel's Annunciation of John the Baptist
On this day we commemorate the Angel's annunciation of John the Baptist to his father Zechariah the Priest. Zechariah was well advanced in years and his wife Elizabeth was barren and the time for begetting children had passed. Zechariah was praying and beseeching God continually to give him a child because the Israelites used to revile the families who had no sons, believing that they lacked God's blessings because God commanded Adam in the words: "Be fruitful and multiply" (Genesis 1:28).
The Lord had compassion on Zechariah and He harkened to his petition. He sent him Gabriel the angel to announce to him the birth of John. The angel came to him while he was in the sanctuary as is described in the Holy Gospel (Luke 1:11) and announced to him the birth of the Prophet John, and that John should precede Christ as it was said in the Prophets: "He shall go before Him".
Zechariah said to the angel: "Whereby shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years". The angel told him that he was sent from God and it is not seemly for him to doubt. He then told him that he shall be dumb till John's birth.
On the day of John's circumcision, they asked him about the child's name. He asked for a tablet and wrote on it John and straightaway his mouth opened. Then he spoke and praised God and prophesied concerning his son John and concerning the Lord Jesus and that his son would be a prophet and should go before the face of the Lord.
May the prayers of this Priest be with us. Glory be to God forever. Amen.