[“Then his (John the Baptist) father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy” (Luke 1:67) ]
“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.” (Verses 68 – 71)
Zechariah, the elder priest that he was, remembered correctly the history of his people. From the first the Lord God related directly, one-on-one with those chosen and called. Yes, as time when by the single person that was first called grew to be a family, and then a group, and finally a people – a nation. But a nation of individuals that were each called to the Lord God.
“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.” (Verses 72 – 75)
Perhaps it is because the enemies of the Hebrews/Israelites/Jews seemed to be all around then and hounded them through the generations that being in a group offered strength and security. And having king under which they were a kingdom offered protection from and identity to the other nations. But individuality was lost.
“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.” (Verses 76 – 79)
I tell you, beloved reader, when I started this week I did not know I would be approaching and addressing the second week of Advent in this way. Something spoke to me though in the Old Testament scripture passages and said to me that this group thinking was so strong. But it gave way to individual salvation and redemption – both topics and issues that lay beyond the borders of Advent. It is, however, where Advent leads to – as it was planned for from the beginning. Let us hold both in our hearts: the group experience of Advent and Christmas, and the individual that the Divine makes to us. And let us celebrate this Advent season with joy and compassion! Selah!