Shine Your light into the dark corners of my life, Lord. Thank You for Your tender mercy.
Read Luke 1:67–80
67 His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied:
68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
69 He has raised up a horn[a] of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”
80 And the child grew and became strong in spirit[b]; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.
a Luke 1:69 Horn here symbolizes a strong king.
b Luke 1:80 Or in the Spirit
New International Version (NIV)
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ReflectWhen did you first see or recognize the light of Jesus?
This was an extraordinary time to be alive for the faithful of Israel. They had been waiting for salvation from the line of David for 14 generations (the genealogy in Matthew 1). And filled with the Holy Spirit, Zechariah is able to pronounce that the wait is over: the Lord “has come to his people and redeemed them” (67). The night has been long, but the day is dawning.
Luke’s account is brilliantly constructed to capture both the granular, domestic details of the birth and life of Christ, and its cosmic significance. The detail provides the texture of a credible narrative; the sign-posting to significance alerts us to the gravity of the events as they unfold. John’s birth is like the first rays of the sun brightening the sky. As his father predicted, he would go on to preach repentance and forgiveness, paving the way for Jesus’ message. And as he prophesied, Jesus, whose radiance is able to dispel the shadow of death (79), through whom God’s mercy shines (78), was God’s fulfillment of his ancient covenant (72).
Let’s pledge not to sleepwalk through this opportunity to be woken up to the “rising” (78) of the Son of Man whose light penetrates the deepest darkness.
As we revisit very familiar stories over this Christmas season, let’s pray for a divinely given alertness to the meaning of them.