During the Christmas season, we often focus on the astonishing encounter Mary had with the Lord’s messenger, Gabriel — the “Hail, Mary” prophecy:
Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you! Don’t be frightened, Mary, for God has decided to bless you! You will become pregnant and have a son, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” (from Luke 1:28-33 NLT’96)
Yet there is another brilliant ray of hope that radiates from Luke 1, and it comes from the mouth of old Zechariah as he prophesies over his newborn son, John, the forerunner of Messiah Jesus:
“Because of God’s tender mercy, the light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” (Luke 1:78-79 NLT’96)
We proclaim good news of great joy: not only can we be forgiven of our sins and receive the gift of eternal life in the Day of the Lord, but we also can be delivered from the darkness in which we sit today! The shadow of death hangs over us, but Messiah Jesus brings us light! And that light not only saves us for eternity, but it also illuminates the path of peace so we can walk in God’s ways today!
Your neighbor needs to hear the Good News of eternal life in Christ Jesus. But he also needs to hear the Even Better News that salvation begins today. Messiah Jesus brings us freedom from the slave-chains that hold us captive right now. He heals our brokenness and makes us new creatures who enjoy abundant life — today. The Light of the World will show you how to walk in the path of peace … not the “no-peace peace” the world gives, but an amazing Jesus-peace that transforms our lives, our families, our neighborhoods, even entire communities.
Do you sit in the darkness and the shadow of death? Do you want to walk in the path of God’s peace? The birth of Jesus offers you light.
Have you been set free? Then who around you is broken and still in chains? Love your neighbor as yourself.