This month at South Side we are going through a series entitled “Christmas Isn’t Cancelled.” 2020 Has been a year of “cancellations.” There are so many things right now in our society that are either cancelled or don’t come close to looking the same. If you would have told me that in 2020 we would all be wearing masks, socially distancing, and quarantining I wouldn’t have believed you. I would have laughed at you.
If you would have told me church, football games, sporting events, graduations, weddings, dances, and about everything else would be this way I would have never believed you. We have all been going through this experience for around nine months, and it seems that we still have a long way to go. One thing we know for sure is that we don’t like to wait. Waiting in our culture is something very few of us have mastered. Today, I want you to imagine waiting for 700 years for something as a nation.
In the gospel of Luke in chapter 1 we are introduced to a man by the name of Zachariah. He was a priest and would soon become the father of John the Baptist. He and the people of God had waited for the promised messiah for 700 years, and nothing had happened. However, this day in Luke chapter 1 would be life changing. You see it’s important to note that this day was already the most important day of Zechariah’s life. A priest could go years without pulling Temple duty; there were that many priests in Jerusalem. But Zechariah was about to have a dream come true. Not only had his name been drawn for Temple duty, but he was assigned to offer incense, which was a once-in-a-lifetime privilege. When a priest offered incense, he was just outside the Veil, behind which was the Holy of Holies where the Shekinah Glory of God’s presence was manifest. Only the high priest got closer to the revealed presence of God, and that was only once a year. Jewish tradition described a priest who gets to offer the incense as “rich and holy” for the rest of his life.
Zechariah had been trained for this possibility for much of his life and was carefully going through the steps assigned to him when he was interrupted by the angel of the Lord, Gabriel. We read that when it occurred Gabriel said to him: Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John. There will be joy and delight for you, and many will rejoice at his birth. For he will be great in the sight of the Lord … ” Gabriel goes on to tell Zechariah that this son would go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah … to make ready for the Lord a prepared people” (v. 17).
It was this day that Zechariah learned that His son was the long-foretold forerunner (John The Baptist) to the Messiah, who would be Jesus. Now he doesn’t immediately believe it because he says, “we are old and my wife is barren.” But when Zechariah accepts what is about to happen, he breaks out in a song. Yes, Zachariah is a one hit wonder in the gospels, but what he says has everything to do with why Christmas isn’t and will never be cancelled. Have you ever waited for something desperately, and then the good news suddenly came? Have you ever had such great news that God placed a song in your heart because you were filled with joy? The song or also called a prophecy that came from Zachariah has so much to teach us as Christ followers today!
This Sunday at South Side we will continue our series entitled “Christmas Is Not Cancelled.” We will focus on the Song of Zechariah, and what it teaches us today. Worship begins at 10:15, and our Children’s Ministry offers children’s classes for all ages. We also now offer a “Church Drive-Thru” for communion, prayer, and encouragement from 10:30-11. Please know we are continuing to practice social distancing at our services. If you are unable to attend our online services will be available at 3 on Facebook and our website. If you would like to give generously text: 84321 then the word “help” and follow the simple instructions. We would love to have your family worship with us! For more information visit us on our website at: www.southsidewch.com or on Facebook.
South Side Church of Christ