“Sing and rejoice, O daughter Zion! For lo, I will dwell in your midst, says the Lord.” (Zechariah 2:10)
How are your Christmas preparations going? Do you even feel like celebrating this year?
This has been a year of challenges and uncertainty. I’m sure we have all made plans that ended up being abandoned. Many have had to reschedule weddings and funerals, family gatherings and holidays. Things that we have always taken for granted, such as attending the Christmas pageant, footy games, or going to the gym have been disrupted or we’ve missed them altogether. Others may have experienced less impact but may have lived in fear of the virus spreading or of loved ones being infected, or have experienced that undefined fear of the unknown that robs you of sleep in the middle of the night.
And, of course, many have been seriously impacted financially and emotionally. We have seen heroic acts by our first responders to emergencies and by medical staff and those working in aged care. At times, it has seemed that the world has descended into chaos. On the world stage, what was once predictable has become unpredictable.
Things weren’t all that terrific in Zechariah’s time either. Zechariah has several visions about the future restoration of Jerusalem. In the midst of these, there is the exhortation to sing and rejoice and the promise that the Lord will dwell among the people.
We can take on board both the exhortation and the promise. As Christmas approaches, let’s listen to and sing the carols — the ones that tell the story of Jesus’ birth and maybe the old and new favourites that recall former Christmases as well. We can take comfort in the memories of the good times. Even more importantly, we can reflect on the promise that our God is dwelling, and will continue to dwell, among us. No matter what happens.
As Christmas approaches, we can reflect on how we want to celebrate Jesus’ birth this year. The promise of his birth and subsequent death is the heart and core of our faith. They are promises worth celebrating.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your great love that led you to become human and spend time on earth. Help us to find comfort and joy in this and to find ways to celebrate your birth once again. Amen.