Reading: Luke 1: 68-79
There is a certain peace and solitude that comes with winter camping. The air is crisp and clear. Usually you are the only one in the campground. At night the only sound is the crackle of the fire. Once you settle into your tent, just a thin layer separated you from the world outside. Sounds of nature fill the air as a chill settles over all. I usually wake up early and it is dark and quiet and very cold. It is a time of solitude and peace. But it also is a time of waiting. For the next bit of time I cannot hardly wait for the sun to poke out and to begin to cast its light and warmth on this quiet and cold place.
The Jews had a similar experience awaiting the Messiah. Except it has been hundreds and hundreds of years. Prophets of old spoke of the coming of the Messiah. After long periods of exile, of times of war and defeat, and of occupation by the oppressive Romans, the people long for a Messiah. The Jew’s hope for a Messiah hangs on the thinnest of threads. Some even wonder if God has forgotten the promise.
This is the context into which Zechariah breaks forth with his prophecy. The time has come! Zechariah prophesies that his son, John the Baptist, is here the “go on before the Lord” to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah. The time is very near for the “horn of salvation” to come into the world.
There is hope now. Just as the sun’s first rays burst forth ending the cold night, bringing light and warmth, so too does the coming of Jesus as He enters the world. Jesus is that light that shines into the darkness, chasing away oppression and loneliness and fear and doubt. Because of the tender mercy of God, Jesus came into the world. His light continues to shine. May we, as Jesus’ followers, continue to bring forth Jesus’ light this day.