Advent is a time for hope. I trust these devotionals about events that happened two thousand years ago in the past are helping you look forward to Christ’s future return.
When Mary headed to Judea to see Elizabeth, Zechariah was also in the home. As a priest, Zechariah was familiar with the Law, but k nowing his own son would be a forerunner for the Messiah, he spent some serious time during Elizabeth’s pregnancy boning up on all the prophecies about the Messiah. How do I know? If you look at the cross-references in your Bible margins near Zechariah’s song of praise in Luke 1, they lead you like a radioactive tracer to all the places where Zechariah spent his own devotional time during those early months. He had been studying in 1 Samuel, Isaiah, Ezekiel and Malachi. He wanted to be able to teach his son all he would need to know for his future ministry.
Thus, when Mary showed up on Zechariah’s doorstep, his excitement about the coming Messiah overflowed on to Mary. As they looked together at the scriptures and their promise of a redeemer, Mary’s heart filled with…hope.
In Luke 1:76, Zechariah sang to his infant child, “You, my little son, will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord. You will tell his people how to find salvation through forgiveness of their sins.” Mary heard his prophecy and realized that even as her elderly relative rejoiced in the future of his son’s ministry, he was also revealing her own son’s future. Her son Jesus would be, as Zechariah pointed out, the one “to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.”
What hopes do you have for the new year? Psalm 33:22 reminds us, “Let your unfailing love surround us, LORD, for our hope is in you alone.”