Advent Devotional: Week Two - Saturday
Scripture Reading: Luke 1:68-79
Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has visited and provided redemption for His people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of His servant David, just as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets in ancient times; salvation from our enemies and from the clutches of those who hate us. He has dealt mercifully with our fathers and remembered His holy covenant — the oath that He swore to our father Abraham. He has given us the privilege, since we have been rescued from our enemies’ clutches, to serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness in His presence all our days. And child, you will be called a prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare His ways, to give His people knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins. Because of our God’s merciful compassion, the Dawn from on high will visit us to shine on those who live in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
You can imagine Zechariah, after nine months of being unable to speak, opening his mouth to prophecy after the birth of his son. In this piece of prophetic poetry, he uses Old Testament language to express how God is worthy of praise because he has acted according to his promises (Gen 22:16-18) to deliver his people through a descendant of David. In the second part of the song (verses 76-79) Zechariah addresses his newly born child, with literary allusions to Isa 40:3 and Mal 3:1.
When we sing the songs of Advent, in many ways we are singing the song of Zechariah. We are singing songs founded on the images and promises of hope and expectation. By the time of Zechariah, the Jewish people hadn’t heard from a true prophet of God in four hundred years. (Knowing this, you can start to understand Zechariah’s hard heart in the face of Gabriel’s message of good news.) For us, it has been over two thousand years since we have heard from the living Jesus. Every year we remember his birth, and the advent of the good news of his work. As we remember, we also hunger and long for him to return to complete the work of redemption in our lives and in the created world.
Prayer: Dear Father, help us to be rooted in the salvation history of your people. Help us to find hope and rest in your mighty works in history. During this season especially, quicken our spirits to meditate on the birth of Jesus Christ in history, the continued gift and work of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus’ promised return. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. Speed the day of your return.
Advent Singing: Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending
Lo, he comes, with clouds descending, once for our salvation slain; thousand thousand saints attending swell the triumph of his train: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Christ the Lord returns to reign.
Now redemption, long expected, comes in solemn splendor near; all the saints this world rejected thrill the trumpet sound to hear: Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! See the day of God appear!
Those dear tokens of his passion still his dazzling body bears, cause of endless exultation to his ransomed worshipers; with what rapture, with what rapture, with what rapture gaze we on those glorious scars!
Yea, amen! let all adore thee, high on thine eternal throne; Savior, take the power and glory, claim the kingdom as thine own: O come quickly! O come quickly! O come quickly! Thou shalt reign, and thou alone.