Zacharias was a “just and holy” man (Alma 13:26) and a priest. He and his wife Elisabeth were descendants of the Priest’s line (Luke 1:5) and of the Tribe of Levi. In Hebrew, his name meant Lord has Remembered.
Zacharias had been praying for a son for a year. All day at the temple his thoughts were on the coming of the Son of God, he may have also thought about having a son of his own.
On a midwinter day* he was chosen to offer the incense. There Gabriel told him that the Son of God was coming and that he would have a son who would be the forerunner of the Messiah. Zacharias did not believe this could happen as they were “stricken in years” so Gabriel told him, because of his unbelief, he would “not be able to speak, unto the day that these things shall be performed” (Luke 1:20.)
He remained mute until “Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered.” (Luke 1:57) It was then that Zacharias’s “mouth was opened” (Luke 1:64) and he bore witness of the divine mission of his newborn son, testifying that he would “go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways.” (Luke 1:65) News of these miraculous occurrences “ was noised abroad throughout Judea.” (Luke 1:76.)
Just as Jesus is the center of this story, he should be the center of our Christmas season and the center of our personal and family stories.
*Since John was 6 months older than Jesus, he would have been born in early October, thus conceived the end of December or the first part of January.