Make a Statement!
Have you ever noticed how many statements we make at this time of year? We make statements on what we value and is essential through numerous different mediums. One of the great ways we have traditionally made statements this Christmas season is through the carols we sing. Consider some of the following life-shaping statements we make in what we sing at this time of year!
"That has made heaven and earth of naught, and with his blood mankind hath bought" (The First Noel)
What a remarkable statement about where we come from! How succinctly this speaks to how we have ruined that which he has created and how God is redeeming it
"God with man is now residing" (Angels from the Realms of Glory)
This is the Christmas message in six words… as the Message version of John chapter 1 tells
us, "God moved into the neighborhood." What a statement!
"To save us all from Sin and Self" (God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen)
This statement captures our human condition. Our sin manifests itself in our selfishness, and our selfishness prevents us from Godliness. The bold statement of the kingdom is that God comes to save us from ourselves.
"So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of his heaven." (O' Little Town of Bethlehem)
What a great statement this is! As God gives himself to us, He places the blessings of
heaven into our lives. If we could believe this, then the life we would live life so very differently.
"And Fit us for Heaven, to live with thee there." (Away in a Manager)
What a profound statement this is! …That our Christian life isn't just crossing over some line
of salvation, but it is a continual journey of transformation - changed from glory unto glory as we are 'fitted' into the kind of people who will fit in in heaven!
In Zechariah's prophecy, after his tongue has been loosened, I believe that he sings to us three statements that can and should shape how we celebrate this season. Zechariah is full of the Holy Spirit and follows Mary and Elizabeth's line, who also sang when they were full of the Spirit, six months before the first Christmas. As Mary sang a song of love, Elizabeth sang a song of peace… here, Zechariah sang hope. Zechariah's song (Luke 1:67-80) is three profound statements.
His first statement is that we can be "Saved Completely." Notice how God's affection towards us is one of love. A more accurate translation of the word "visited" is "looked favorably." God looked at us from heaven, through the eyes of love, and realized that he had to do something to help us. So he did; he sent his son to 'redeem' us - To restore, renew, and ransom. The affection and the action of God is to save us completely. When it comes to the issue of salvation, He has done his part and made it possible for you. Have you responded? Do you know that you are saved completely?
Secondly, I believe Zechariah says that we should "Serve Victoriously." Verse 74 tells us that we have been 'saved to serve.' We are called to serve our mighty God through those he loves and hasn't yet received his salvation. But as we do, the benefit isn't just for them, and it is for us as well. Note how he continues in 74… we are to serve in holiness and righteousness. These two descriptors speak to the attitude of our heart and our behavior. Have you noticed that when you serve, our heart starts to change… and thus shortly after our behavior. One of the things that I think Zechariah is saying is that as we serve, everyone wins!
Thirdly, Zechariah says (76-79) that we can "Shine Emphatically." I imagine that as he speaks, he is cradling his newborn son, John. He looks at him with great hope and affection as he says what God has in mind for him over his son. You will prepare people to receive the Messiah. You will share with people the knowledge of salvation. You will allow the glory of God to break into the world and enable people to experience peace! I believe that God wants to have tender moments with us where he extends the same invitation to us and that through our lives, people can be prepared to receive Jesus, tell them about his forgiveness and that through him, we would bring peace.
This year, let the following statements define your Christmas:
- You can be Saved Completely!
- You should Serve Victoriously!
- You must Shine Emphatically!
Make a statement this Christmas!