As we continue to look at the Christmas story and the events surrounding the birth of Jesus we are struck by the abundant praise and joy. In 1:58 Elizabeth and her friends and relatives share the joy of the birth of their child. People’s spirits have been lifted because God is at work in their midst. They are not sure what God will do with John but no doubt God has a plan – 1:66. The key driver of all this praise and joy is the work of the Holy Spirit. We saw this with Elizabeth in 1:41-45. The Holy Spirit at work in our lives brings joy and praise. Of course this is a unique event with the birth of John and Jesus but Ephesians 5:18 encourages us ALL to keep on being filled with the Holy Spirit (that is the sense of the Greek). The Holy Spirit is especially active at key salvation points in God’s plan but in the New Testament we are informed that in the last days God will pour out His Spirit on all people – Acts 2:17-18. We cannot know God and follow Him without the work of the Holy Spirit. That is why Jesus says that we must be born again in John 3. It is interesting that in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-19 that Paul expects that we will be joyful always and this is linked to prayer and not putting out the Spirit’s fire. Ask the Lord to fill you daily with His Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God will remind You of Jesus and will grow God’s character in your lives, especially joy and love.
Zechariah’s song of praise is an explosion of joy. Zechariah understands that with the birth of His son John as the forerunner 1:76 the Messiah or God’s King is on the way. Zechariah understands that God is at work powerfully. In particular God has raised up a horn of salvation 1:69 who has the power to save people. They will be saved from their enemies 1:71. The immediate fulfillment of this prophecy is that God will save us from the enemy of death and judgement by giving us eternal life 1:78-79. But long term we will also be saved from all who oppose God and His people because when Jesus comes the second time all those who oppose God will have to bow their knee Romans 14:11. Zechariah is full of joy and praise because God has shown His love and care for people by coming to them to save and deliver them. Zechariah understands that our God is a God who cares for us and is interested in us and hasn’t forgotten us. Benedictus – praise be to the Lord.
God’s richest blessing Rev David O’Mara (firstname.lastname@example.org)