Pastor Ian shares the first message in a new series for Christmas, titled ‘Heart Songs For Christmas’.
Reading from Luke 1:67-80
Christmas is always a good time to be remembered. It doesn’t matter how old you are it always feels good when you receive or see a present under the Christmas tree with your name on it.
Even if you are not a child anymore, you feel good because you subconsciously think. ‘Someone remembered me’ It’s a good feeling to know that you are remembered.
Conversely, no one really likes to be forgotten.
In Luke 1:5-7 The backstory to this song begins with a couple who are facing a personal struggle but their personal struggle is within the framework of a national struggle going on in Israel
Their personal struggle was they were righteous, blameless but barren.
To be righteous, blameless and barren were contradictory states of living in Jewish thinking. Jewish thinking was such that if something bad happened to you, then it must be because you have offended God and He had turned His back on you and forgotten you.
The national struggle was that for 400 years from the last stroke of Malchi to Luke Chapter 1, the inter testamental period, the voice of God has not been heard in Israel, it was a dark time, God was silent.
During this time there was an under current of thinking ‘Has God forgotten us, Has God forgotten Israel’
All of this contributed to the people asking ‘Where is God, When will He come, When will He end this? Has He completely forgotten us?
But it is out of this anxious expectation of ‘If God is there why hasn’t He done anything? Comes the faith of Zechariah in his song inspired by the Holy Spirit. His song has no less than fifteen direct references to O.T. prophecy.
Right in the centre of this song four verses (not by accident because this is what God want us to get hold of.) 72-75 to show the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
Israel may not have heard form God, things may have been desperate and seemingly hopeless but the one thing they could put their hope and trust in is this: God had said He will come, He promised/ covenanted with Abraham our Father.
The most important thing to God is His covenant promises because He is a covenant keeping God.
God does not keep His covenant promises at a distance He, He keeps His covenant promises by His presence.
Zechariah moved from despair to faith because he was sure the Lord would remember His people.
Zechariah means: ‘The Lord has remembered’ Remembered what? His covenant promises.