The messengers of God never rest nor sleep; they are constantly active for the One they serve. For this reason, they don’t usually have dreams or visions even though their Heaven-sent messages are often delivered in such form. So it was a surprise to Gabriel when he got to experience what he so often induced in others; a dream, more of a waking dream; but one that transferred him from the moments in earthen time where he was busy delivering messages to so many during such an extraordinary time of human history.
It began as he was gazing with rapt attention on Zechariah, Elizabeth and the baby John; even as the song of the aging priest resonated around the hallowed halls of heaven.
He seemed to see the baby John growing up in a form of fast forward. The joy and delight of his parents as they spent long hours watching him sleeping, soaking in every precious moment, each memory etched on their souls as they communed silently together with each other and their God. Gabriel noted the thickening and lengthening hair on the toddler as he took his first faltering steps, his deep dark eyes absorbing every possible experience as his body stretched and grew; even as the aging bodies of his parents began to fade. He followed their journey to Jerusalem that very last time as a family. It was a special occasion as John and the other boys of his age went to be presented at the temple. Gabriel gasped when he recognized the boy closest to John in friendship and fervor. He saw the boy Jesus remaining behind in the temple courts even as John helped his frail parents home to their rest. He watched the silent sobs of a young teenager whose beloved parents passed peacefully side-by-side at the end of their faithful sojourn. The young John standing at their graveside, already a dark stubble on his chin to match the long dark thick curls that marked him as one set apart to live a life devoted to God.
Gabriel watched him grow in physical and spiritual stature, until he stood at the banks of the River Jordan, calling to all who would listen of their need to repent, to turn away from their sinful ways, to return to God who loved them and missed them. Heaven trembled at the authority and integrity of the voice of the young Prophet. His face already weathering under the relentless searing sun that scorched him by day, and the bone chilling cold of the desert nights. His frame wiry and intensely strong from the diet of locusts and wild berries. As the crowds grew so did the words of God, ringing out, convicting and condemning, exhorting and encouraging. Noble and poor alike were drawn to him, to his message of raw and challenging truth, but also of surprising warmth and welcome. As grew the crowds, so also grew the disciples, fisherman far from their nets, hungry for more than food, searching for meaning, for integrity, for direction.
Just as Gabriel was becoming aware of the heaven-sent presence approaching John, his dream ended abruptly leaving him almost hollow for just a moment. In his heart of hearts he knew that God had gifted him a precious insight in His purposes and his intent. He was revealing to the now weeping messenger the reason his messages were so important, so necessary for God’s will to find its completeness in the hearts and decisions of mere mortals. He shook his glowing wings as he reminded himself it was time to deliver another message, this time to one who worked with stone and wood, but who’s heart was soft and breaking.