The period between the end of the Old Testament prophets and the coming of Jesus is often referred to as the silent period. In Luke 1, after Mary revealed to her relatives how God had chosen her to bear a son, Zechariah’s prayer of praise is recorded to remind us about the significance of what was about to transpire.
Zechariah ends his prayer in Luke 1:79 with thanksgiving that the Messiah was coming “to guide our feet into the way of peace.” While he didn’t fully understand all that would transpire, he was confident that Jesus would help his people find peace again.
If Zechariah was here to talk with us today, he would remind us that the same peace is available now. In fact, Zechariah gave a number of reasons why we can experience peace with God and through God.
Peace Because God Doesn’t Forget His People
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people.” – Luke 1:68
One of the hardest parts of Covid has been the frustrating reality of not being able to visit those we love. Many families celebrated recent holidays and milestones without gathering, and it’s hard when you can’t visit those you love.
Christmas reminds us that God isn’t some far-off God, who has forgotten about His people. Even when many of His children seemed to forget the everyday reality of who God is, He hadn’t forgotten about them, and He came for a visit.
Many people feel forgotten at Christmas or other times throughout the year. Our earthly friends and family may disappoint us, but God hasn’t forgotten us. He wants us to spend time with Him and remember His goodness.
Peace Because God Doesn’t Forget His Promises
A Promise to Bring an Answer to Our Fears
“to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us, that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear” – Luke 1:72–74
Does God keep His promises to you? On some days, we may answer easily “yes.” However, on other days, we fear that life’s hardships are happening to us because God has forgotten us.
Zechariah knew that Jesus’ visit to earth was rooted in a promise made hundreds of years before to bring redemption to His people. He was keeping His promise to send the Messiah. There was a reason for Zechariah’s confidence: his fear was confronted by his faith. His faith in the promise kept him pursuing and trusting God.
Jesus promises that He can provide what we lack in our fears. We can trust God because He Himself intervenes and gives us what we need.
A Promise to Bring a Solution to Our Sins
“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 in the forgiveness of their sins” – Luke 1:76–77
Zechariah understood the problem we all faced. The prophet Isaiah said “all we like sheep have gone astray” to describe the sin that destroys our peace with God.
However, what hadn’t been clear to Zechariah for most of his life was how this problem would be resolved. With the announcement of the Messiah, it was becoming clearer that God was moving to bring forgiveness of sins and solve the greatest need of mankind.
This Christmas, are you living in gratitude for what Jesus’ coming to earth really means? You were given the opportunity for a fresh start through the life and death of Christ. As you celebrate this Christmas, do so with gratitude for the greatest gift that Jesus brought: the salvation of our souls that is offered freely to all.
A Promise to Bring Peace to Our Lives
“because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” – Luke 1:78–79
Are you living in peace this week? During the hustle and frenzy of holiday seasons, relational tensions, financial stress, and personal exhaustion can steal our ability to feel peace.
Thankfully, peace is more than a feeling! However, a lack of peaceful feelings can be a warning sign that life is out of balance, and we are failing to rest and trust in Christ. One last gift, one more guest, hours less sleep can distract us from what Christmas should be about.
Jesus came to bring us peace in our position, and our disposition. He wants our attitude and actions to prioritize peace, because we trust Him to provide what we need.
Zechariah knew that the coming of the Messiah was big news that would change everything. If we are going to find peace this Christmas, it’s because we are seeking the source of peace and prioritizing Him. While peace is a gift, we must accept it and keep pursuing it.
God promises peace to us, and the story of Zechariah reminds us that He keeps His promises.