“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for lo, I come and I will dwell in the midst of you, says the LORD. And many nations shall join themselves to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of you.” Zechariah 2:1-13
Without a doubt, the Old Testament is full of warnings to Israel and Judah to flee from their wrongdoing, to turn from their disobedience and sin and return to the Lord their God. The Old Testament covers a huge time period in history, and God’s people faltered again and again. There is wrath and judgment in the Old Testament.
There is also mercy and promise, as we see in the first reading from the daily lectionary, from Zechariah. We can’t imagine a more hopeful promise than that the Lord of hosts will one day send His angel—the angel of the Lord—to come and dwell with his people. The angel said, “I will come and dwell in the midst of you, and you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you.” This was good news, assuring the people that the LORD had not abandoned nor forsaken them, in spite of their past sin and unfaithfulness.
And yet, greater news than this was coming, for the prophets would soon announce, not the coming of an angel of the Lord, but the Son of God, who would come to dwell among His people. Most Sundays during Advent, we hear the prophecies of the coming Messiah— the Son whom God the Father would send to become flesh and dwell among His people. We hear this great good news foretold in Isaiah 9:6, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’”
Christmas is the festival of “Emmanuel—-God with us,” and the season of Advent gives us time to prepare for His coming. Through worship, prayer, Scripture reading and meditation, acts of love and service to our neighbor, we make straight the pathways of our God. Our reading concludes, “Be silent, all flesh, before the LORD; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.”
Come, Lord Jesus and be our guest! Amen.
Prepared by David Wendel, North American Lutheran Church