Prepare yourself to discern what is and what is not of God today. Still yourself so you can hear how God is calling you.
Luke 1:67-79 (NRSV)
Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty savior for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and has remembered his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Zechariah’s prophecy doesn’t get as much attention as Mary’s song does, which is about 20 verses ahead in Luke. I have always thought that Zechariah got a bad rap. Simply because he asked for a sign from the angel just to confirm things, he is struck mute for the remainder of his wife’s pregnancy. Having all that time to think about his doubts, he was finally on board with the baby being named John and with all the rest of the things that the angel foretold.
Then Zechariah answers his neighbors’ questions about who John would become: the prophet of the Most High, the one preparing the way for the Lord, the one pointing to salvation, and the one bringing light to those who are in darkness.
This prophecy in itself is pointing to God’s mighty acts and to our savior who would be born. You might even say that Zechariah prepared the way for the one who prepared the way for Jesus. That in itself is a good enough reasons to give Zechariah a little credit! He believed. It just took him a little bit longer to process it.
As this New Year is beginning to unfold, what are some things that you might look forward to happening in the future? Are there things that God is calling you to do on the horizon? Is there something that you might be called upon to prepare the way for? Spend this month praying to God and listening in silence for what God might tell you—for your life, for your work, for your church.
Lord God, open our hearts and minds to discern the future you have in store for us. Give us the strength and courage to believe in your plan for us. Amen.
Go with God!