In the Advent season our imaginations soar. We anticipate times of joyful celebration, meaningful interaction. Often, though, an alternate reality materializes. Hard work, limited strength, diminished capacity overcome us. Unexpected disappointments tend to defeat our intentions.
Advent centers on the birth of Jesus. However, Luke records a prelude to Jesus’ birth. Through the narrative of Zechariah and Elizabeth, Luke provides a glimpse of events that lead to unexpected consequences. You may recall that Zechariah lost his voice after questioning God’s messenger relative to Elizabeth’s promised pregnancy. Following the birth of his son, John, Zechariah regained his voice and rejoiced in God’s redemptive plan.
Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
because He has visited and redeemed His people.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of His servant David,
as He spoke through His holy prophets,
those of ages past,
salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us,
to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember His holy covenant,
the oath He swore to our father Abraham,
to grant us deliverance from hostile hands,
that we may serve Him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before Him
all the days of our lives.
-- Luke 1:67-75, Berean Study Bible
Zechariah does not expressly comment on God’s “love” in this passage. As anyone who has experienced difficulty knows, only someone who loves us will offer visitation, redemption, salvation from our enemies, deliverance from hostile hands ... all the days of our lives. How incredible!
In much of our world today, the light of love seems weakened by darkness. So many do not experience expressions of God’s love in their lives. News broadcasts give credence to the depth of the darkness in the world.
This Advent, may we, like Zechariah, become more aware of God’s Love. With this renewed awareness, may we be emboldened to offer the renewal of love and joy to those in need. May God use us to His glory in extending His Love to those in our spheres of influence. God’s blessings be yours this Advent season.
Rev. Esther Coy
Cynthiana First UMC
Northern Kentucky District