How does your family conduct greetings? My dad had “flutter hugs” with a 2.5 foot radius in his general direction from Auntie Olive. My cousins fling themselves on me, creating a combined force with gravity that almost knocks me over every time. And of course there is always the awkward side hug that involves prolonged pauses and side shuffling.
Luke 1 jumps into the middle of several family celebrations! Elizabeth is finally going to have a baby and, have you heard? Her little cousin Mary is having one too in a few months! Shame about Mary…but Joseph is handling it well of course. We all know what must have happened this close to their wedding. Oh well. Isn’t it exciting about little…what is his name going to be Elizabeth? John? No, you need to name him after his grandpa. Or his father, of course! Yes, dear, call him Zechariah, Jr.
He’s writing something. Zechariah, what are you trying to say? He speaks! After so long!
“His name is John,” the voice cracked and rough, tears rolling into the beard as he holds up the tablet. Elizabeth rushes to him. What is that he’s saying?
“67 And his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying,
68 ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
69 and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
70 as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
71 that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
72 to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
74 that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us[h] from on high
79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.'”
God, You fulfill Your promise! It is so exciting to hear of new life, new birth. Sunrise. Healing. Forgiveness. Hope. And it came in the middle of Roman occupation. After silence, a burst of song. Four hundred years of waiting for You to act. And You did not forget, oh no, You were just waiting for the right moment. And then it came. I wait so poorly. Thank You that You guide our feet in the path of peace, even through the hardest days. Amen.