These are the beautiful words prophesied by Zechariah, father of John the Baptist. Picture the scene: Zechariah was finally able to speak after months of being unable. His son had just been born, and he had had an encounter earlier to know that this baby of his would become a great prophet of God.
Imagine how Zechariah was feeling as the Holy Spirit took over and spoke through him. If you’ve ever experienced the Holy Spirit speaking through you, then you know how delightful it is. There is almost a tingling when you realize that your words are suddenly not your own. Zechariah’s voice had been silent for so long, that this would be his first utterance is brilliant!
As we reflect on preparing for Jesus’ arrival, this reading speaks to both comings. The first words out of Zechariah’s mouth are, “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has visited and redeemed his people.” Surely, this speaks to how Jesus will live among the people and then die, sacrificing himself for their redemption.
The people listening to Zechariah that day took note. They knew that this new baby was special. The events surrounding his birth were certainly unique.
From Zechariah’s words, it seems the mighty Savior has already come. We know that to be true, and we are now expecting the Savior’s return. The first promised coming has taken place, and this beautiful prophecy confirms that and helps us look beyond.
We, too, look forward to the covenant God gave. Because of Jesus’ rescue, we have been rescued from our enemies, just as Zechariah’s words proclaim. Jesus has given us access to God so we can “serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live.”
Without fear. We can serve without fear. I’m not sure I’ve ever asked myself, “Am I fearful” when it comes to serving God. In retrospect, however, there is a hesitation at times. I have questioned myself, doubted my worth, kept my mouth shut because of the fear of rejection. There it is. Fear.
As we put on our “Advent faith” and ready our hearts for the coming Christ, we don’t have to fear. This boldness will last way beyond Christmas Day. That day will culminate in our grand celebrations of Jesus’ first coming. We still have our whole lives to live in service to God, while we wait.
Taking time now to embolden ourselves will be a gift we give ourselves for more than just a few weeks. Take time today to feel the same thrill you know Zechariah was feeling the day he spoke these words. Breathe in the same Spirit who is waiting to be your guide and strength as well.
Relish this moment. You may just be feeling that “tingle” I mentioned. Get ready to serve without fear!
Let’s pray. Lord, I come to you a bit fearful. I’m unsure what the future holds, and it’s a bit frightening at times. Fill me anew with your perfect peace. I thank you for the tingle I feel when I sense your presence. Help me to boldly step out in service to you. May I continue to be your light in this dark world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.