Luke 1: 67–80
Zechariah has heard a message from God that he is to have a son
whose name will be John. Because he doubts the words of the angel
Gabriel, he is struck dumb. When the baby is born, Zechariah can
speak again, and his first words are the words we read today.
The Song of Zachariah is more like a prophecy than a psalm and so to
label it as a song is perhaps inaccurate. It speaks of hope for the future
as the light of the world is promised to us all.
During the prophecy we see several references to Jewish history
(v.70-74) where the Messiah is seen as the leader who will fulfil Gods
promises and will free Israel from her enemies.
I wonder sometimes that the church also thinks a bit like Zachariah
because so often we look back to the past rather than looking forward
to the future. It is good to remember where God has taken us, but, as
we approach Christmas it is also especially important to see where he
is leading us in the future.
Zechariah recognises that his son will be called ‘a prophet of the Most
High’, and that he will prepare the way for the coming of the Lord.
John goes into the desert and preaches repentance and baptism.
Today we too are preparing for the coming of the Lord. Perhaps the
symbolism of going into the desert is helpful in making us think of the
spiritual rather than the tinsel, the greatest of all gifts rather than the
gifts around the Christmas tree?
As we approach the celebration of Christmas help us to remember the
story of the birth of Jesus, of the hardship, of the poverty and discomfort
of the manger and the journey Mary and Joseph had to undertake.
Whatever the problems of this year help us to find peace and to
celebrate the reality of Christmas in spirit and in truth. Amen.