Dec 6, 2012
The first time I ever preached on these passages I was trying to explain to the Children just how exciting it was for Zechariah and Elizabeth to have a child. “What do you think Zechariah said?” I asked. One of the children said “Wow!” It was a great answer and in a way that’s what he did, except that being a Priest, he couldn’t just say “Wow” he had to say a great deal more!
For him, the birth of John changed his whole world, and so he sings a song about the transforming and renewing power of God. He tells how God can transform not just his personal world but the whole world. It’s a lot more words than “Wow!” , but there was a lot to celebrate.
These images of infertile women having children, of deserts blooming and being covered in overflowing streams, and of seemingly hopeless situations being transformed are common in the Bible. The Jesus’ story is full of such images right from his birth through to his cross and the empty tomb.
The Christian conviction and experience down through the ages has been that this transformation also happens in people’s own lives. And the Christian hope is that one day that transformation will happen for the whole world. This is what Advent is about. We look back to the events of the past like the first Christmas and the first Easter and we look forward to the promise that the trial and tribulations of our current reality will one day pass away.
As Christians we are called to live out this hope, even if our personal, family, work or church circumstances are difficult. For God can and will transform all things.