Click here for a podcast of the sermon, “Declare that the dawn is coming,” which was preached on December 23, 2012.
“God has called you to your life. Let it speak. Let nothing get in the way of being the person that you are. Zachariah claimed in his prophecy that through the birth of Jesus, “we have been rescued from the power of our enemies so that we could serve him without fear.” We need no longer fear. We need no longer hide from God or from each other. We are free to use the gifts that God has granted us for God’s purposes. We can serve God in our homes, in our churches, and in our workplace. We can serve God with our hearts, hands, feet, and minds. We are free to love God, because it is only in freedom that love is possible. We are free to love ourselves because we know that we were created in the image of the God that is love. We are free to love one another because God has called us to do no less.”
Fear came over all their neighbours, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. All who heard them pondered them and said, ‘What then will this child become?’ For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.
Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy:
‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has looked favourably on his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a mighty saviour for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors,
and has remembered his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham,
to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies,
might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness
before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
by the forgiveness of their sins.
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.’