Zechariah is a pretty minor character in the Scriptures, but he gives us a beautiful song and prophecy in Luke 1:68-79 when his son, John, is born. Though his prophecy is in the moment of John’s birth, it proclaims and announces the wonderful intent of the Father in sending the Son. It really does remind us about all that Christmas is.
Christmas is about worship. Zechariah starts with blessing the Lord (v. 68). Worship is the end of life, the culminating pinnacle of the birth of Christ. Christmas is about the restoration of all that was lost in the Garden and the bringing back of a people to worship Him who alone is worthy of treasuring. What little ways can we reorient ourselves in the next few days? How can we turn our natural ability to worship gifts above the Giver and treasure Him? It may be a prayer with a family member. It may be a simple moment of thanksgiving directed to the Lord in the stillness of morning. Whatever it may be, friends, intentional worship is the goal of Christmas.
Christmas is about salvation. The reason Zechariah gives for blessing the Lord is a simple one: He has visited and redeemed his people, having given salvation through a Servant of the house of David (v. 69). A King has come for a people who wandered leaderless for so long. He has purchased them back from their taskmasters and slave owners. The prophets foretold it (v. 70), and we have expected it. The house of David has not been obliterated. It has not gone dark. Our enemies will not triumph, and the hand of those who hate us is stayed at the coming of our Lord (v. 71). What enemies are we tempted to believe still have utter sway over us? What do we feel still has mastery? Is it the opinions of others? Is it lust? Is it anger or greed? Is it pride? Our enemies are undone in the wake of the Messiah. We are free. Friends, Christmas is about salvation.
Christmas is about mercy. What is one reason our Lord has visited us and saved us? He desires to show mercy and not condemnation (v. 72). This mercy was promised to our forefathers and now descends upon us in the form of a Babe. Mercy is tender. It is sweet. What sins do we need to take to our Saviour these next few days? There is mercy to be found. What mercy do we need to dispense to others? Are there those who crave mercy from us who have only been given judgment? Friends, Christmas is about mercy.
Christmas is about covenant. The coming of Christ is about God fulfilling the promise He made way back in the pages of Genesis (v. 72-73). History has never been outside of God’s control. It has always ebbed and flowed within the confounds of His holy and perfect will. He has guided it and guides it now to its final culmination. He has made promises, and those promises are sure. Don’t His promises guide us forward? Don’t they propel us to continue fighting the hard battle, pursuing holiness with all that He has made us to be? Friends, Christmas is about covenant.
Christmas is about service. Indeed, the salvation and mercy shown to us in His covenant are meant to draw us back to service and worship (v. 74). Our worship is without fear, for He has stilled our enemies and atoned for our sins in the person of the Son (v. 74). The coming of Christ provides us with the necessary peace, holiness, and righteousness to stand before our Mighty God in joy and gladness (v. 74-75). Again, how can we serve and worship our God this season? What gift can we give in His name? What time can we spend with Him? What moments can we devote to climbing the heights of heaven to sit in His throne room, if even for a little bit? What moments can we devote to realizing that He has climbed down to dwell with us? How can that drive us, in little and practical ways, to treasure Him more and more? Friends, Christmas is about service.
Christmas is about daybreak. In the wake of John the Baptist, in the knowledge of salvation and the forgiveness of sins (v. 77), the long-awaited Daybreak has come (v. 78). The Daybreak is a visitation, the coming of a Person who shines with the radiance of God, who gives light, life, and warmth to His people who sit in the frigidness and gloom of darkness (v. 79). He will guide us and lead us out of death into life, into a peace which surpasses understanding, in which we will walk for all eternity. Does it feel cold this Christmas? Is the stench and darkness of death in the air? Is there sorrow and pain? Our Saviour takes these things seriously, but He calls us past them and through them into sunrise and midday. It does not mean that death doesn’t hurt. It does not mean that sorrow and pain will not pierce us. It does mean, however, that none of these things are final. None of these things are the last word. He is final Word, the glorious Sun, the rays of whom have reached us in healing, freedom, and salvation. Friends, Christmas is about a Person, an Eternal Daybreak who shatters the darkness and depravity which has surrounded us for so long.
Celebrate Him. Merry Christmas…