Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Joy of Zechariah's Story

“Let us remember the places in our hearts where we want His Advent to come...”

One of our elders at church preached those words this past Sunday. He said a lot more than that, and I will get to it in a minute. But the gist of his ending thoughts parallel those of C.S. Lewis in his beloved story The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In Narnia it was “always winter, but never Christmas,” explained Mr. Beaver to the Pevensie children.

The passage he preached on was the end of Luke chapter one, when Zechariah encounters God after literally 400 years of silence. Since the end of the book of Malachi to the story recorded in Luke’s Gospel, God had not spoken to His people. We know now, with the beautiful hindsight of thousands of years, that God was at work all that time, orchestrating His ultimate plan show His Son.

But the wait was not really over for Zechariah. Rebuked for his doubt, the Lord silenced his mouth for 9 more months. At the birth of his son, John, his words of JOY and thanksgiving finally resounded:

“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.”
(Luke 1:78-79)

Zechariah probably knew so much about the coming Messiah. It was engrained into his very being as he meditated on the last words of Malachi. And yet his human nature fumbled as he faced the Lord’s words. The places in his heart where he was hoping for the Messiah the most, were the same places that he felt the most vulnerable and fearful. And yet, with 400 years of preparation, Zechariah was in the exact right place and time for God to work out one more step towards the Incarnation. Truly He gave us the Sunrise from on high.

The words of O Holy Night refer to the shepherd’s encounter with the angels, yet this was Zechariah’s experience as well. He literally fell on his knees before the Lord of hosts, so that one day we would be able to his story and prepare our hearts for Jesus’ birth.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
Yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees, oh hear the angel voices
Oh night divine, oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine, oh night, oh night divine

1 comment:

  1. I like the phrase "beautiful hindsight"......


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