When I sit with someone who is dying I am moved to share this Scripture passage:
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has looked favorably on His people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty Savior 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. Thus He has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered His holy covenant, the oath that He swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the forgiveness of their sins. 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 1:67-79 NRSV)
The priest Zechariah was struck mute when he voiced his doubt that God would give him and his wife Elizabeth a son in their old age. This Scripture passage is Zechariah’s prophecy spoken once God’s promise was fulfilled and John was born; John the Baptist, John the Prophet of the Most High, John the voice in the wilderness who would prepare the way for the Savior.
What a beautiful, hopeful, fitting message, when we struggle to find our way not only in the darkness of our last days, but also in the darkness that comes during the winter months. During this time of the year when the days are shorter, our days full of stress, and the list of chores, activities, and high expectations are placed upon our shoulders, it is easy to lose sight of the simple beauty of the Christmas season. God, in His tender mercy has blessed us with a new dawn. The Christ Child has been born to us! Immanuel has come! God is with us!
This is the legacy God has bestowed upon us, that our feet will know the path of peace. Do you feel rescued from bondage? Are you able to serve God without fear? It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of the season. Baking, decorating, parities, and searching for that extra special perfect gift for that special someone all conspire to consume us. We are so enslaved by our expectations and traditions that we rarely stop to consider how God has a different plan, a new way to be, a more perfect path to walk. Zechariah reminds us that there is light beyond our imaginings. Can you see it?
During this Christmas holiday, this season of peace, if there is one prayer I pray for you it is this: May the Lord God give you breath to breathe deeply. May the Spirit of the Living God fill you with the sure knowledge that you are a beloved child, known and treasured for your particular talents and qualities. May the peace and grace of our Risen Savior fill you with strength and hope today and forevermore. Amen!
The Peace of Christ be with you!