I have been reflecting on the birth of Jesus narratives over the holidays which includes Zechariah’s prophecy in Luke 1: , expressing his anticipation and expectations for the coming Messiah. Much of this expression of hope and anticipation is encouraging for us today.
Zechariah prophecies that the coming Messiah will sound a “horn of salvation” or “a trumpet of redemption” (Passion Translation). While it is a warrior image of one leading an army to victory, or proclaiming a victory in a charge in battle, Zechariah couches this in the context of God’s tender mercy. Ultimately the battle is not about destruction and vengeance, but about the revelation of God’s redemption, forgiveness, restoration and his tender mercy towards us. Jesus will be the light of salvation, the expression of the glory of God, and God’s tender mercy and desire to bring to birth a people for his Kingdom.
My prayers for the coming year are that I (we) can be a messenger of God’s love and tender mercy, that this love will break down the power of hatred coming from those who see us as their enemies (or whom we see as our enemies). May forgiveness, redemption, and reconciliation triumph over the anger and hateful language both in this country and in the world. May our words be flavored with God’s tender mercy, with gentleness and care for others. May we have eyes to see where God is at work in our midst and embrace it.
Love is a redemptive force; hate is destructive and can never redeem the other. Love is not always “nice.” But love will hang in there because love cares for the other.