Zechariah tells us about two things: A father’s joy about his newborn son, and a new hope approaching. There is hope for us.
Zechariah served as a priest in the temple in Jerusalem. The archangel Gabriel appeared to him and said that his wife Elizabeth would bear a son. Zechariah had not expected this and asked the angel about it. We can identify with this. It is natural to want proof. Zechariah had to wait until his son was born, and his response was to burst into praise.
There is something special about Zechariah’s song of praise. It unfolds a new perspective to those who hear it. It is more than the joy about the newborn child he is looking at. Any parent can recognise the overwhelming excitement about a newborn child. “How great!”, “How wonderful!”, “My son!”
But there is more than that here. This is the one who will prepare the way for the Lord. He is surely great and wonderful, but also a messenger for all people. He announces the coming sunrise from heaven. The coming light visits those sitting in darkness, in the shadow of death. It is coming to us even now, long after Zechariah’s time.
The light is coming, the light we are longing for. The world can seem eclipsed by darkness. Terrorism in Paris and other places, climate change threatening the whole planet. But the light is coming. We can walk towards it, away from darkness.
When Zechariah saw him, he was alarmed and felt afraid. Luke 1:12
The light is coming, even in this harsh world afflicted by death. Fear may make us speechless when loved ones are lost – a spouse, a child, a parent – as it did when the archangel appeared to Zechariah. We cannot find the words. How can we look forward to Christmas, seeing this loss? What does it all mean?
But the light is coming. The light John the Baptist told us about. It comes during Christmas, and spreads over the world. Summer is coming for all those who live in darkness.
It is coming, the light, to those who wait for it. Thus despair fades and with it our fear and silence as well.
But the angel said to him, “Don’t be afraid, Zechariah! God has heard your prayer” Luke 1:13
This post was posted on the Danish Bible Society website. It was written by Søren Hermansen, a priest in Sorgenfri church.