We have made it to the last month of what has been one of the longest, most challenging years that many of us have lived through. If there was ever a time where the theme of renewed hope and joy is needed, this is it! Thankfully, God has made provision yet again by providing us with a vivid reminder, as we enter this Advent season.
When we look back at the historical period in which God chose to send Jesus into this world, it was a time in which darkness, fear, and chaos were the theme of the day, both on a political and religious front. Although the Jewish people had returned to Jerusalem from exile for about 400 years, they were living under an oppressive regime in which the Roman Empire exercised their control by appointing a local King (Herod), heavily taxing those in the Empire to advance their goals, and enforcing their way of life with a strong military presence.
Spiritually, the Jewish people were in an equally perilous time. Their religious leaders under the influence of the High Priest along with the Pharisees and Sadducees were highly focused on the rules, but not so much on the spiritual growth and wellbeing of their followers. Additionally, it had been almost 400 years since the prophet Malachi had spoken, which was the last prophet in the Old Testament that God had used to speak to His people.
Enter in Hope: Zachariah, a priest faithful to the ways of the Lord and in His service, is visited by an angel in Luke 1, and receives the message that a son will come to him in his old age, which will be the messenger who paves the way for the Saviour’s imminent arrival. Under the direction of the Holy Spirit, God speaks words of hope and praise through Zachariah in verses 67 to 79, in which he concludes that the purpose will be, “To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”
As we flash forward to the present, our world is not in much better condition. Darkness, fear, and chaos are rampant, while political unrest and religious confusion are all too common. Enter in Hope: the promise of a Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord, who has come to provide light in the darkness.
May the anticipation of Jesus’ birth cause your heart to be filled with hope, as it did Zachariah’s all those years ago.
J-D Lussier, Principal