The dawn from on high shall break upon us. (Luke 1:78)
Zechariah knew he was standing on the cusp of a new era. Israel’s centuries-long wait for redemption was coming to an end, and Zechariah’s own son had been chosen to announce the dawning of this new day. How his heart must have swelled with pride and gratitude as he held his newborn son!
Today we too stand on the cusp of a new era. Tomorrow “the dawn from on high shall break upon us” as we celebrate Jesus’ coming to live with us (Luke 1:78). The reign of sin will be broken by his life of perfect obedience. Death will lose its sting as he reveals to us the meaning of his resurrection. Divisions will fall as he teaches us to forgive as he has forgiven us. And injustice will give way to his law of love and his gospel of peace.
Of course, even a quick glance at a newspaper will tell you that none of this has happened yet, despite Jesus’ birth. Sin, death, division, and injustice continue to haunt the human race, even as they haunt those places in our hearts that we keep hidden. Like Zechariah, we are still looking forward to the day of our full redemption, the real “tomorrow” when Jesus finally returns in glory. Until then, we remain in this in-between space of having already tasted his salvation but not yet experiencing it in fullness.
Christmas is a time of rejoicing. It’s a time to celebrate Jesus’ coming to set us free. But as you prepare to celebrate, remember that Jesus’ coming is an invitation as well. It’s an invitation to join him in the work of preparing the world for his return in glory and his final victory over all evil. It’s an invitation to say no to sin and yes to his grace. It’s also an invitation to share the good news of his coming with the people around you so that they too can rejoice in his salvation.
And so we wait, just as Zechariah did, for the “dawn from on high” to break upon us and upon the whole world. And as we wait, we watch for Jesus, the Son of God who will set us free.
“Jesus, thank you for coming to break the power of sin and death. Fill me with great expectation for the day when your victory will be fully revealed.”
2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16
Psalm 89:2-5, 27, 29
RevdFr Ed Bakker