“Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant.” (v. 72)

Luke 1:67-79 Tuesday 24 December 2013


Christmas Eve and households across the wealthy West andwesternised of the world have hopes high that promises will bekept. Children are best at longing for Christmas without too muchcompromise of altruistic thoughts and holy considerations. Theywant 'stuff' and the day that is coming seems unbearably far away.In a strange way I sense they would understand the aching longingof Zechariah, better than most of us who have grown accustomed todisappointment and unanswered prayers for ourselves and others.There is a charming innocence in childish greed that must find itsadult form in the sharing of God's hopes for the world.

Two thousand or so years ago the ancient promise of God wasfulfilled, and yet we continue to live in a world where the fullestworking out of the promise is yet to be seen. Zechariah, filledwith the Holy Spirit, speaks eternal words into presentcircumstances and still we sit in the darkness that his prophesypromises will end. We can perhaps name the darkness; sometimes wefeel it sapping our energy and undermining our confidence. Likechildren waking far too early on Christmas morning 'waiting andwaiting and waiting' for the time when pillow cases can releasetheir goodness, we have to bear the waiting pain of God who seeksto give birth to new life in partnership with humanity.

Hope is the painful product of promises made by the trustworthyone who speaks into the dark times of light. It is painful becauseit is not yet light and because we cannot simply pretend thepromise is not worthy of our faith. God's goodness is our dailyexperience not least in times of trouble, and so Zechariah'sspirit-inspired words do nothing to ease our hopeful discomfort,and instead invite us to enter the kingdom as children who stillbrave the longing of Christmas Eve.

To Ponder

  • What do you really long for? and dare you pray for it forChristmas!?
  • What gift would you most like to give God and if it seems hardto do, what makes it so?


Previous Page Monday
Next Page Wednesday