The first person to receive the message that God was getting ready to send was the priest Zechariah. The angel Gabriel brought Zechariah the news that he would soon be the father of John the Baptist, who would “prepare the way.”  Angels, however, can be temperamental creatures, and because Gabriel was not pleased with Zechariah’s doubts and response, he struck Zechariah mute.  On this first Sunday of Advent, we are invited into the mystery of God’s coming to dwell with men.  God surprises us in the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth. He will again in the story of Mary and Joseph.