“In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a certain priest named Zechariah who belonged to the division of Abijah. He had a wife descended from Aaron. Her name was Elizabeth. They were both righteous in God’s sight, observing all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord without the least blame. Nevertheless, they had no children because Elizabeth was barren. They were very old.” – Lk 1:5-7
Every present moment is well-rooted in the past. Nothing happens in pure isolation. We are never only I. We are always, somehow, we.
Even the miracles of God, so sudden-seeming, have been nurtured in love through the ages to the moment of their appearing.
God is a God of history: weaving its past and its future together; granting meaning to the whole of humankind, making any single moment incandescent with meaning.
And so, in Luke, in these few verses about one humble old man do we see the past (the entire past of human need) and divine desire spiraling into Judea to produce this unfolding drama of the coming of the infant Jesus – who shall himself illuminate the whole history of humankind with a fearful and beautiful meaning.
The old man’s name is Zechariah – his name means “Yahweh remembers.” God is remembering his people, yes. God is remembering his promises, his most ancient promises. And the remembering of his promises means also that God is keeping them, physically, in human time and human space, and in the sight of every people.
...And now, here YOU are – this year, this day, this particular moment. How vast and complex is the history that brings you to THIS moment! The flower of this moment has a root as deep in antiquity as the time when God spoke promises to Zechariah and Elizabeth. The time God, moving in time & space, remembering & fulfilling His ancient promises was bringing Jesus into the world - the birth of that Light who would illumine all our human history, making this particular moment, too, incandescent with meaning.
Like any miracle of God, you have been nurtured in love through all the ages unto this instant, this breath you now are drawing, this present beating of your heart, this thought, this faith, this prayer…
Catch us up, like Zechariah, in the whirl of your holy history. Let us be meek in your kingdom, but not abject; humble, not self-pitiful; obedient, not obsequious; servants, not servile; childlike, not childish; yours in love and willingness, and then our smallness shall be your greatness indeed.
Teach us to live in the tension. Amen”
Wanted to pass along the blessing from “Day 2” of “Preparing for Jesus: Meditations on the Coming of Christ, Advent, Christmas, and the Kingdom” by Walter Wangerin Jr.
MERRY CHRISTMAS SEASON! :)