“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.” - Luke 1:68
For about 400 years, there had been no direct word from the Lord. Had God forgotten his people? No! In the temple one day, a word from God came to a priest, Zechariah. His name means “God remembers.”
Zechariah and his wife, Elizabeth, were devoted followers of God. They were old and childless, and Elizabeth was a relative of Mary, who became the mother of Jesus (Luke 1:30-31, 36). One day Zechariah had a rare opportunity to burn incense at the time of prayer in the temple. And while he was doing that, an angel of God came with startling news: Zechariah and Elizabeth would have a son! He was to be named John, and he would become a prophet like Elijah, bringing many people back to the Lord (see Malachi 4:5-6). This child became John the Baptist, who prepared people for the coming of Jesus, the promised Savior (Luke 3). When John was born, Zechariah sang a hymn of praise because he knew salvation was coming. God had not forgotten his people.
Dear friends, if you are struggling with disappointments and God seems far away, take heart. God has not forgotten you. He wants to give you his peace today. In his mercy and love God remembers each one of us. That’s the good news of Christmas: Jesus, who forgives our sins and brings us new life, has come! So let’s join with Zechariah and sing God’s praises today.