“Because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Luke 1:78-79
Listen: Luke 1
Zechariah speaks after the birth of his son John to a people who have been waiting. They knew God had been faithful to their ancestors and had made promises to them—but they had not heard from God for a long time. With their present circumstances being less than ideal, they long for that rescue. It was as if they were in the darkness of the early morning, waiting for the light.
But in the birth of John, Zechariah sees that God is at work and highlights two things God is going to do—forgive and guide. God would offer forgiveness and guide his people, and he would do so partly through Zechariah’s son John. As a sun rising brings light to the day, a new day was dawning. God was at work in Zechariah, through him and beyond him.
As we look back on the song of Zechariah, we see that their story isn’t all that different from ours. It can be easy for us to wonder, “Has God forgotten us?” Foreign rulers might not oppress us, but we similarly experience pain, death and heartache. The people then awaited the coming of the Messiah; we await the Messiah’s return. In this waiting, we can focus our attention on how God is at work in, through and beyond us. When we wait, we have confidence that God remembers, forgives and guides us as well. Zechariah’s song reminds us God is at work in us, through us and beyond us too.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
As you fill in your Focus For This Season journal responses, pay close attention to the statement, “Today I feel…” Then pray something like this, “Gracious Father, you know my heart. Today I feel ____________. Fill me today with ____________. Thank you for reminding me that you are at work in the world and have not forgotten us. Amen.”
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.