(Zechariah said) "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people" (Luke 1:68).
Read Luke 1:67-70.
As a child I had no problem going to church Christmas Eve, because I knew the presents wouldn't come before midnight. My problem came Christmas morning, after opening our presents and playing with them, then to have to go to church again. Obviously, at that time presents were the biggest part of Christmas to me.
Did Zechariah have that same problem? After all, he had been silent nine months, and finally got his speech back. If it was you, what is the first thing you would talk about? Wouldn't it be your child -- the one you had waited and prayed about for so long?
But Zechariah said nothing about his child; all he could talk about was that other Child, who stayed in his household the last three months -- the Baby still growing in Mary's womb. Zechariah shared his wife's amazement at how God has come to visit His people, and this visit is not the way an angel appears and then leaves. Instead, God remains, becoming one of us, ready to spend a lifetime living with us.
But there's even more to the story. Not only has the Christ Child come to live with us, He has come to redeem or ransom us -- to buy us back from our slavery to sin, death and hell. Zechariah spoke of the ransom payment that still lay more than 30 years in the future. It was then when Jesus would be nailed to a cross, on a hill outside of Jerusalem. It is there that He will give His life to free us from God's wrath and the eternal punishment of hell that we deserve.
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, Christmas is about far more than presents, decorations and parties. It is about Your Son coming into our world to buy us back with His own life, death and resurrection. Fill my mouth with praise to You. In Jesus' Name. Amen.