There had been no prophetic word from heaven for 400 years. No prophet was anointed by God. Israel experienced a "famine of hearing the word of the Lord."
Then an angel appeared to Zechariah, prophesying the forerunner to the Messiah, John the Baptist. Once again, God's eternal words greeted human ears. No wonder Israel turned out in droves to hear John speak. All the legalistic burdens of the Pharisees couldn't hold them back. They were starved for the Word of God.
And they hadn't heard the best part yet.
Soon, Messiah would be born in a humble manger. Soon, a baby's cry would pierce the night and few would realize that this very child was, in fact, a Word from God. THE Word from God. The Word made flesh, the Apostle John would call Him.
This is the miracle and mystery of the incarnation. When we embrace this, all we can do is bow down in awe.
"Hail, hail the Word made flesh; the babe the son of Mary" (What Child is This?).