Friday, December 18th Luke 1:67-80

Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” The child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day he appeared publicly to Israel. Luke 1:67-80

Whether we realize it or not, who we are influences how we read the Bible. Earlier this week, I suggested that poor people might hear an entirely different message in Mary’s song than those of us who are rich. Where they would hear good news in the idea of God turning the rich away empty, we hear a threat.

So it is that I can’t help but hear the Christmas story as a father. I read about Mary and Elizabeth celebrating together and I think about what Joseph and Zechariah were up to. I well remember the often helpless feeling of being a father-to-be. Watching my wife struggle with back pains and weight gain and morning sickness and worry. Knowing there wasn’t much I could but eager to do what I could. I wonder if Zechariah and Joseph had those same thoughts.

Now Christmas is suddenly just around the corner. Pregnancy is like that for fathers to be. Nine months fly by and then BAM it’s time. This particular Christmas season I have two pastor friends who are close to my heart, both of their wives are pregnant, and I wonder how this is affecting their walk through the Christmas season.

What I’m saying today is that this whole story, this whole season, is simply very human. And that’s the point. Jesus comes to “dwell among us” but not just that, Jesus comes to take on human flesh and become one OF us as well as one WITH us so that he could live his entire life as one FOR us. It’s an amazing story.

The story doesn’t change. But as we go through life, we change, and as we change, we see the story changing with us.

Zechariah was an old man when his long awaited son, John, was born. So he sings this wonderful song as he celebrates the birth. He sings ancient poetry of promise for he recognizes a time of fulfillment dawning upon humanity, but he looks as well to a different kind of hopeful future.

And so it is that I look at my son, now a strapping young man. Last night he and I looked at old baby pictures, toddler pictures, Michael the little kid. I see him still through Zechariah’s eyes, beholding a gift from God. And I find myself hoping that my son will live in the promises of his baptism, that he join all who prepare the way for Jesus to enter the lives of those he meets along the way.

This is our story. “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.”

Let us pray: Dear Lord, give us your grace that we never lose the eyes to see the wonder and the promise of your birth and life among us. Be born among us still, bringing hope to the hopeless and peace to wounded lives. May your light so shine within us that we prepare the way for you in the life of the world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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One Response to “Friday, December 18th Luke 1:67-80”

  1. Gloria Rockhold Says:

    Perfect! You hit it exactly. I have been reading Francine Rivers series of books on the lineage of Jesus and am now almost finished with Mary and thus the series, beginning with Tamar, next Rahab, then Ruth, then Bathsheba, and ending with Mary. God does indeed work through His people. It’s been so fun and interesting reading these Biblical stories from somewhat of a fictional point of view, at least a story-like one. They all moved me. Their stories are so real and the people just like us. I am now at Palm Sunday in the Mary book so am near the end, of course. But it is NOT the end. In some ways, it is just the beginning for all of us. May we give God praise and glory for sending us His son to redeem us. I’m also rereading The Shack which has really changed my life. I highly recommend it to everyone who wants to understand God’s plan.

    Merry Christmas and God bless you for this service.

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