One Heck of a Baby Announcement
This familiar song from Zechariah is one heck of a baby announcement – and in reality, we know it is so much more than just the announcement of the birth of John. In the birth of his son, Zechariah saw the faithfulness of God, not only to him, but also to all of Israel. The story of John’s birth is one more piece of the story of God’s continued faithfulness to these people and to the covenant between God and Israel.
Scripture: Luke 1:68-79
‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has looked favourably on his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty saviour for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
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One Heck of a Baby Announcement
Many of the people who lived in the time that Jesus was born felt like they lived in a time of great darkness. Jews and many gentiles suffered under the arm of Roman rule which was oppressive, punishing, and often times cruel if someone did not abide by the Roman way of life. This kind of rule was driven by creating fear rather than a sense of safety and abundance.
Zechariah also lived in a time of darkness in his own life. He and his wife, Elizabeth, had not been able to conceive a child and so they were left with no heir and no one to care for them in their old age. Not having children left couples in this time with not only grief, but also with a sense of fear because children represented security.
Into the midst of Zechariah’s darkness, he receives the announcement from an angel that everything is going to change. Elizabeth is pregnant and they are going to have a son. This brings joy in more ways than we can even imagine. This is because a child brought more than children bring to us today. They certainly brought with them the joy and hope that we experience today, but they also brought a since of security and financial well-being.
When Zechariah is finally able to speak after the birth of his son John, we have a true sense of the relief, hope, and joy the new baby brought. Where their had been fear and grief, there was not hope, joy, abundance and safety.
Likewise, Zechariah understood that his son had come to prepare the way for the one who would give us all the ability to replace our fear and grief with hope, joy, abundance, and safety.
Zechariah’s words, “By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace,” remind us that Jesus’ life did just that. Jesus came and showed us all a way to live that makes light break into the dark places of our lives. However, we understand Jesus, we know that his life brings us hope, joy, abundance, and security. And the more we learn to live as he taught, the more we experiences those very things.
In this season of Advent, may you find the ways that the light of Christ breaks into your dark places and fills them with hope, joy, abundance and security.
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Nikki’s Video Script
One Heck of a Baby Announcement
It is the second week of Advent. No doubt you are in the thick of Christmas festivities and planning. The church is decorated and maybe your house is as well. And now each week we get to read these wonderful advent texts all over again. Today, we are in Luke 1:68-79. It is the familiar song from Zechariah – You remember, he is the father of John the Baptist. His wife, Elizabeth, who was also Mary’s cousin, had not been able to conceive and now they were both older. Zechariah became mute after an angel visited him and told him that he and his wife would have a baby boy. The words of our text today are the first words he speaks after the birth of John.
This is one heck of a baby announcement – and in reality, we know it is so much more than just the announcement of the birth of John. In the birth of his son, Zechariah saw the faithfulness of God, not only to him, but also to all of Israel. The story of John’s birth is one more piece of the story of God’s continued faithfulness to these people and to the covenant between God and Israel.
And so it is with all of us. The story of all of our births are a part of a much larger story. We all come to this world with a story that began long before we were even a twinkle in our parents eye. Each new child comes into this world full of wonder and hope.
Some of us live into that wonder and hope — in many ways, John the Baptist did — and sometimes, because of life circumstances and sometimes our own choices, we find ourselves void of all that wonder and hope and light. As humans, we do not always live into the promises that come at our births.
Life for Zechariah had left him in some dark places – with no child, he had no heir, no one to carry on his name. And then when the news came that he would have son, he becomes unable to communicate with speech. When he is finally able to speak, we finally learn his own reflections. He says, “By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
In the birth of his son, Zechariah remembered that in God’s world, the dark places will not stay dark forever, that the last things are not the worst things, and that God is always breaking into our dark nights with the light of Christ. We are all another piece of the story of God’s promise to bring light to the dark places, to conquer the shadow of death, and to guide us in the ways of peace.
As we celebrate this advent season, a time of preparing and a time of waiting in the darkness, it is literally darker longer, with shorter days. And yet, we live with the hope of the coming dawn – may we remember that God is always at work around us, no matter how dark it feels – and may we seek to live into the promises that come with our birth of God’s faithfulness and hope and peace.