And [John’s] father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.” -Luke 1:67-71
ACTIVITY: Make a Horn. Prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birthday with a paper noisemaker. Find a cardboard toilet paper tube. Poke a hole in the middle of the length of the cardboard roll. Then cover one end of the roll with a piece of wax paper secured around the opening with a rubber band. Decorate festively.
Zechariah had a whirlwind advent. He was an old priest in the temple and was married to Elizabeth. Elizabeth was unable to have children. Then the angel Gabriel appeared and told him that they would have a child and that his name would be John. Zechariah didn’t believe Gabriel. I mean they were too old, there is no way his grandmother aged wife could have a baby, right? Because he didn’t believe, his voice was taken away.
Zechariah was unable to speak, unable to tell his wife he loved her, unable to give priestly blessings in the temple, unable to speak prayers to God for more than nine months. But God did bless Zechariah and Elizabeth and they did have a son. And when their son, John, was eight days old, Zechariah’s voice returned and he praised God with a beautiful prayer.
Zechariah was given the precious gift of a son, even though he didn’t really believe the words of the angel. Even though he didn’t deserve it, God showed grace. Grace means undeserved love.
Each week in church we confess what we do deserve. Because of our sins of thought, word, and deed, we deserve punishment from God. But that is not what He gives us. In the same way that God blessed an undeserving Zechariah, He showed us grace by sending Jesus to earth on Christmas morning. Jesus is a wonderful gift that we, as God’s people, don’t deserve.
Zechariah celebrated that his blessing, John the Baptis, would point to Jesus. And that through Jesus, God would visit his people (v.68) save his people (71), show mercy (72), and give salvation (77).
Christmas is tomorrow! God’s gift of grace will be found in a manger. The Savior of the whole world born to us.
PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for Jesus, the gift we don’t deserve, but You give out of Your abundant grace. In Jesus’ name we pray, AMEN.