December 4, 2020
December 4, 2020
In Acts 13 Paul is preaching to people who know the Hebrew scriptures, and he shows them how the prophets point to the Messiah. He points to God’s choosing David, “a man after my own heart,” and then raising up Jesus from David’s descendants. Preceding the birth of Jesus, Luke gives us the story of John, another “impossible” act of God, a baby born to the childless old couple Elizabeth and Zechariah. Gabriel speaks similar words to Mary when he tells her she will bear God’s Son, “With God, nothing will be impossible.” Zechariah was “speechless” when he heard the news.
We tell John’s story often during Advent. John was sent to “prepare the highway” for Jesus’ coming; he was the herald of the advent of the Christ. John was not Elijah or the Messiah. He was “the voice of one crying in the wilderness.” When John is born, Zechariah finds his voice again and Luke gives us his beautiful song of thanksgiving for his infant son. We can hear in Zechariah’s words the awe and gratitude that fills many new parents at the birth of a child, but Zechariah knew his son was given for a purpose, and that purpose was to point to One greater than himself. Zechariah’s song ends with these words, both a prophecy and a blessing:
“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.” (Luke 1:78-79)
Jesus is the Dawn of God’s new creation, the rising of the “Sun of righteousness,” the bright and morning Star, the Dayspring of God’s glorious reign.
QUESTIONS FOR THE FIELD
- Jesus is called the “bright and morning star,” that foretells the dawn. On winter mornings the beauty of the sunrise reminds us that the dark will soon be over. What hymns can you think of that call to mind the promised joy of the morning?
- Create your own Advent art (prayer, poem, decoration, music, painting, etc.) that expresses the hope of the new dawn.
On “Day 5” we pray as we sing
O come, thou Dayspring, from on high, and cheer us by thy drawing nigh.
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Refrain: “Rejoice, Rejoice . . .”