“By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”–Luke 1:78-79
These words have been replaying in my head and my heart today. They are in the text I will be preaching on Sunday. In this text, Zechariah and Elizabeth are told that Elizabeth will give birth to a son and they will name him John which means “God is gracious and/or merciful.” Yet even in the midst of this annunciation to Elizabeth, that is not where I’m finding myself focusing instead I’m pulled to the above words from Luke 1.
Have you ever noticed that when your electricity goes out, you don’t need much…one candle can give off just enough light? That light takes away the shadows of the darkness. That light reminds us of this precious holy child who comes as the light in the darkness. In contrast, John comes to give us knowledge of this promised Messiah while Jesus comes to fulfill that promise; the light of the world.
During this season of Advent, not everyone experiences joy. There are many who are in the depths of death and are sitting in those shadows of darkness. I think of my friend who recently lost his father; also a beloved grandfather, spouse, father-in-law. I also am reminded of dear Laura’s daughters. For them, that empty chair at the table or around the Christmas tree is evidence of this one they loved and lost. They are literally sitting in the shadows of death. Yet God reminds us that God will guide our feet into the way of peace. Both these dear souls are no longer in pain, but rather have been guided into the way of peace.
In addition, in our world that so often feels so full of hatred and war and ugliness, it is also hard to hear these words. In an unpeaceful world, how can we be guided into the way of peace? Yet that’s the beauty. God sent Gods one and only son into world as this gift who promises to guide our feet into the way of peace. “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring Good News!”
And those feet that bring Good News and guide them into peace, they came first as infant feet; born in an stable in Bethlehem; a Son born for our sins; a Son born to guide us all into the way of peace. This peace is a peace that only this infant son can bring in the midst of our sorrows and joys and showers upon us through God’s love for God’s people.
This love is a love that reminds us always of the power and gift of love and relationships in our own lives. As my friend Laura was laying in her hospice bed, she asked us her friends, family and mat carriers to send her pictures etc to decorate her room. Only a week there, her room was filled with so much love. There was no white space left on those walls; a concrete example of the power of love; Gods love that guides us all into the way of peace; a peace that passes all human understanding.
Our gracious merciful God sends this infant child as an embodiment of God’s love for all God’s people. This unlikely King born to this unlikely woman triumphantly breaks the dawn from on high especially to all of us who sit in darkness and/or in the shadows of death and guides our feet into the way of peace!
Let’s walk forward trusting in this promised Messiah who always promises to take our hands and guide our feet into the everlasting way of peace that only God can provide!
Linking up with Jennifer Dukes Lee and Tell His Story and Holley Gerth and Coffee for your Heart: