Let us praise the Lord, the God of Israel!
He has come to the help of his people
and has set them free.
He has provided for us a mighty Saviour,
a descendant of his servant David. Luke 1:68-69
In this song Zechariah sings, he voices the long held hope of the people of Israel in God their saviour. He interprets events from his own worldview – something we all do whether we are Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Sikh or atheist. As you would expect, Zechariah has a clear grasp of the history of Israel and the promises of God; he is one of those who has been looking forward to God acting. He prophesies in the context of the agony and hopes of Israel that were a part of the life of the nation – and still are.
The Christmas message is one of bringing light into darkness; of restoration with our God. At the end of time we will all stand before God’s refining and purifying gaze. As we celebrate Christmas, the message of Easter and the judgement of God on the sin of humankind is central – and so is the hope brought by the appearing of Jesus in the incarnation and the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Zechariah’s prophecy finishes with the words ‘to guide our feet into the path of peace.” It can only come through reconciliation with God our Father, through the Prince of Peace, as we accept and follow him.