“Because of the tender mercy of our God … the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death…”
Today’s Scripture recites the Spirit-led song of Zechariah. As he reflects on the role that his son, John, will have in preparing the way for our promised salvation, Zechariah includes images and phrases from the Psalms and Prophets.
Our verse contains the hopeful phrase found also in Isaiah 9:2 about light shining on people lost in the dark.
Darkness itself is hard enough to take. That is why we have nightlights and flashlights. But darkness is a metaphor for all that troubles us: despair, loneliness, sin, worry, depression.
Zechariah sings that John will go before Jesus to get people ready for his coming, announcing that help is on the way. The day is dawning. God will rescue his people and help them to live as they were meant to live. Just as our Christmas carols and lights remind us, Jesus is the “light of the world”(John 8:12; 9:5).
This image of “the rising sun” is especially hopeful because it indicates that God’s new day is just beginning. Many people feel that things wind down after Christmas. But isn’t the opposite true? After Christmas, we can begin to use and enjoy our gifts.
Let’s remember that on Christmas Day. This is just the beginning—Jesus is “the rising sun”!
Spirit of Jesus, guide us to walk in the light, to breathe in hope-filled air, to steer toward ways of peace. Thank you! Amen.
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