More reasons to love Christmas:
God planned the coming of Jesus before Creation.
“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world…” (1 Peter 1:18-20)
The coming of Jesus is a miracle.
Today’s reference is the song of Zechariah, Luke 1:67-79.
For those of you who don’t know, Zechariah was a priest. Zechariah’s story is interesting. You’ll find it early in Luke chapter 1. Zechariah was a priest who had been chosen to offer up the nightly prayer at the Temple. This was a once-in-a-lifetime honor. While there, Zechariah met an unexpected guest, an angel. This frightened him. The angel told him that he and Elizabeth would have a miracle son in their old age. They were to name him “John,” and he would be like Elijah, a great prophet and forerunner of the Messiah. Zechariah doubted the angel and in return the angel took away his voice. And so, he stayed speechless for all the months of Elizabeth’s pregnancy. After the baby had been born and neighbors in the house asked what they would name him, Zechariah wrote down the words, “His name is John.” Immediately he could talk again. And out came today’s scripture, a Holy Spirit-inspired song!
Verse 67 “Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied.” They call this the benedictus latin for Praise Be.
We are His People
Verse 77 “To give His people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.”
“To give His people knowledge”
In this song, we are called His people. If Jesus is our Lord and Savior, we are God’s people. This is clout. If you know Jesus, God gave you this knowledge. You have been singled out. This knowledge has come to you.
This knowledge came through the forgiveness of sin. You understand that.
He forgives us. We receive it. How blessed are we. That is exciting. That is Christmas. That is worth celebrating.
God Loves Us
Verse 78 “because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven”
Even though we are sinners worthy of death, God shows us tender mercy.
Zechariah uses “rising sun.” The word in the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint, also translates into a root or branch springing forth in growth. All of these are rich Old Testament words for the Messiah.
Jesus is the rising sun, a light to a new day, the start of a new beginning.
Jesus Brings Light to Darkness
Verse 79 “to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
The rising sun chases darkness away. The rising sun gives us hope to a new day. Christmas is all about light coming into this dark world, this world of death and despair and hatred and violence. Jesus guides us into that peaceful relationship with God and others, where all is right with the world.
God sent us Jesus to deal with the darkness, to give us that hope.
Verse 76 “And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,”
John’s job was to prepare. Jesus came and now our job is to continue to bring the message of the hope we are given and of the love we have been shown. We are blessed. We have been chosen by God to understand and receive this message. Now we get to bring it to others.
This is a joyous time. Not because of the food, decorations, songs, or gift giving. It is joyous because at the time of creation, God was thinking about me and you and offered us salvation through the forgiveness of sin. How blessed are we?
This is a wonderful reason to sing this Christmas.
Timeless Truths for us Today
1. Read God’s Word
2. A Place of Prayer
Spend time singing and praising God for the forgiveness He has shown us. Seek those who need to know this forgiveness.
Invite someone to the Christmas Eve Service. Look for the opportunity to share Jesus with them.