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Then his father, Zechariah, was filled with the Holy Spirit and gave this prophecy:
68 “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has visited and redeemed his people.
69 He has sent us a mighty Savior
from the royal line of his servant David,
70 just as he promised
through his holy prophets long ago.
71 Now we will be saved from our enemies
and from all who hate us.
72 He has been merciful to our ancestors
by remembering his sacred covenant—
73 the covenant he swore with an oath
to our ancestor Abraham.
74 We have been rescued from our enemies
so we can serve God without fear,
75 in holiness and righteousness
for as long as we live. ” – Luke 1:67-75
Our son and his family made a major mistake one year. He said he’d never do it again. Whenever we’ve visited them during the Christmas season, we go immediately following Christmas. After the busy two or three day cycle of services, one after another. He brought his family to visit us before and during Christmas. They hardly saw me those three days. And Diane was not a lot more available either! He told us later, “In the future, we’ll come to visit you after Christmas!” OK, maybe it wasn’t a major mistake. Hardly life-changing. Certainly not disastrous.
But the timing of a visit is critical. So is the intent of the visit. One time Diane’s parents came to visit us. When they showed up at the door, our son answered and said, “What are you doing here?!?” He didn’t know they were coming. But he should have known they were there for a good reason. And, of course, he did, and welcomed them gladly.
But how about God? What if God wants to visit? Not just the pastor. Even more important and powerful than the President. The message of Zechariah’s prophecy is that God is visiting his people. And his purpose is extraordinarily good…if you are in need of redemption.
And there’s the catch. Too many people today are not in need of redemption – as far as they’re concerned. They’ve got things well in hand. Life is good. They’re charting their own course. They’ve got good things happening, and tomorrow looks even better. Even if it’s not going well, they have plans to make it better. Don’t bother them with God’s laws and commands. Don’t try to stop them from doing what they want to do – even if it will hurt a few people along the way. God’s visit to them will not be welcome. It will upset their apple cart. It will turn their world upside down.
Except God’s visit is precisely the opposite: Jesus came to turn the world right-side-up again. He has come to allow God’s people to serve him without fear. He has come to make a way for them to live lives set apart for his glory. He has come to save, and redeem, and fulfill his promises made long ago.
Is there an area of your life you would wish Jesus would not visit? Is there a place you want to keep for your own purposes – no matter what he would call you to? Is there a time you wish to have it your way, apart from God’s way? If so, this is the time to repent. To recognize that you are in need of redemption. To seek God’s salvation from a self-seeking and self-destructive way of life.
And God is coming to you now through his word, to visit you with his grace and truth, his love and commands. Will you rejoice at his coming? Will you welcome him?