As the season of advent comes under way, what more perfect way to start celebrating than with hope. Hope stems back to advent because before the arrival of Jesus, the descendants of Jacob had been hoping a long time for the promised Messiah who was to come to them and redeem their people. Though the Israelites had not heard from God in a long time nor did they know how the Messiah was to redeem them, they had never lost hope in the coming of the promised one. Zechariah was one of these people. We can find his story in Luke 1. He had not only been one waiting for the Messiah, he was also hoping for a son.
"7 But they were childless because Elizabeth was not able to conceive, and they were both very old... 13 But the angel said to him: 'Do not be afraid, Zechariah; your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you are to call him John...'”
God gives us a reason to have hope because he promised the Israelites a Messiah and followed through just like he promised Zechariah a son and followed through. Zechariah serves a two fold purpose in the story of not only awaiting the Messiah with fervor, but also praying for a son and being blessed to have one. Hope is important like this. Notice how even though Zechariah had not yet had a son, he still had not lost hope. Even though the Israelites had not seen the Messiah yet, they had not lost hope either.
Even though we live in a world that is cursed with sin and all other issues stemming from that sin, this does not give us a reason to lose hope in God's redemption of this world. That is what Jesus came to do. We as believers are called to continue out the work of redemption in our world. This Christmas season, be mindful of the hope of redemption that is to come and be a part of carrying out God's redemptive plan just as Zechariah was hopeful of the messiah Jesus and having a son, John.
"18 Zechariah asked the angel, 'How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.'”
Often times, however, we do become a little cynical like Zechariah and ask how we can be sure of these things. This again is where we must find our hope in the promises that God has already kept and when we focus on what He has done, it gives us hope to do what we must do.
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