Zechariah, filled with the Holy Spirit, uttered this prophecy: “Blessed be the Lord the God of Israel because he has visited his people and set them free… the tender compassion of our God will shine on those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death.”
Today’s gospel talks about looking forward with hope. Zechariah expresses confidence for people of every generation. “God has visited us,” so nothing in the future need ever make us anxious or afraid. “God has remembered the covenant,” so we never have to be discouraged or think God doesn’t care. God has finished “the work of kindness.” Thus, with kindness made fresh for us each Christmas, hope cannot be destroyed.
ZECHARIAH SPEAKS TO YOU
“Blessed are you because you are no longer prisoners of death. You need no longer live in the shadow of fear. For Christ is born to us. God-become-human is covenant for us. He was a child first. He lived, as all people do, knowing he would die. He really died because he was really born. But then his Father raised him up, victorious over death. You have nothing to fear, nothing! God has gifted you forever with the covenant of Christ.”
Jesus, my Lord, pour light into my darkness. Even this Christmas Eve, part of me still sits in the shadow of death—part hurt, part shamed, part full of fear. Even so, most of me rejoices. Because of your Spirit, I celebrate the tender compassion of our God. I need you, Jesus, to heal my dark side and to help me thrill to the joy I am preparing for. Amen.