This devotional is part of the 2020 Christmas Devotional Book, “The Gift.” Access the entire devotional and download your free copy by clicking here.
B Side (Luke 1:67-80)
What is your favorite Christmas song? Christmas is truly a musical holiday. I love the “soundtrack” that plays in the background of December every year. Whether you are in church, driving in the car, or even shopping at the local mall, songs of our Savior fill the air from Thanksgiving to New Year’s.
Sometimes, we think that our love for music at Christmas time is a part of the commercialization of the holiday, but a closer look at the biblical account of Christmas reveals that the first Advent was also a musical. From Mary’s “Magnificat” to Harold and his angels singing, music/poetry was a key way heaven and earth welcomed the newborn king.
As you look at the albums first recorded around the birth of Christ, however, you will notice that both famous AND more obscure songs were recorded around the time of the manger. Right after Mary’s hit song, Zechariah records what some may see as the “B side” to her 45. You may have skipped this track in the past, but today, I want you to “press play” and read its beautiful lyrics found in Luke 1:67-79.
Zechariah was the father of John the Baptist. John’s conception definitely took Zechariah by surprise, however, as both he and his wife Elizabeth were well advanced in age. Like Abraham and Sarah before them, God had special things in store for this elderly couple by filling their barren womb with joy and purpose. The song you just read was sung by Zechariah at John’s circumcision ceremony on the 8th day of his life.
After waiting a lifetime for the joy of fatherhood, it is striking that Zechariah spends most of the time at his son’s circumcision singing about Jesus, not John. Zechariah “got it” . . . he understood that the real joy in his AND John’s life would be their connection to Jesus. Zechariah waited a lifetime to be a father, but God’s people had waited a few millennia for Messiah’s birth. Therefore, the song centers around Jesus and His work.
At the end of the song, is one of the most poetic and beautiful statements about the work of Jesus in all of Scripture. “Because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
I am so thankful that in Christ we have a hope that one day all death will be replaced with life eternal, and all darkness will be illuminated with His light. This is the reason Zechariah sings . . . and the reason we sing as well.
Suggested song for today: “Hope has a Name”
In this Christmas devotional, there is a song referenced for each day. All these songs, are included in a playlist found on Apple Music and Spotify at the following links: