Luke 1:8-9 - It so happened that as Zachariah was carrying out his priestly duties before God, working the shift assigned to his regiment, it came his one turn in life to enter the sanctuary of God and burn incense. [Message]
This was Zachariah's fifteen minutes of fame, so to speak. The one and only moment in his life where he would be in the presence of God. I don't know if every priest got to burn incense in God's presence only once, or even at all. What about the ones who lived far away? Did every priest make a trek to serve as Zachariah's regiment did? The NIV says he was chosen by lot. With that method, I'd never get to go into the presence of God! I never win the lottery (of course, I'm told you have to buy a ticket to win). What about the other eleven tribes of Israel? They weren't even eligible for the Presence of God Lotto.
How different it is today. Thanks to the shed blood of Jesus, we who are saved are always in the presence of God. We can meet Him anywhere at any time. Of course, in the continual presence of God, most of us take it for granted. We treat the Divine like it is commonplace. For Zachariah, even without the angel, this was a holy moment...and everyone knew it.
Thank you, Father, for all the times I've clearly been aware of Your presence. I treasure those moments. Forgive me for all of the times I've ignored Your presence. May 2013 be a year spent knowing and appreciating Your presence in my life more deeply...each and every moment.