December 3 – The Long-Awaited Vistation

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us…” Luke 1.68-71 

Notice two remarkable things from these words of Zechariah in Luke 1.

First, nine months earlier, Zechariah could not believe his wife would have a child. Now, filled with the Holy Spirit, he is so confident of God’s redeeming work in the coming Messiah that he puts it in the past tense. For the mind of faith, a promised act of God is as good as done. Zechariah has learned to take God at his word and so has a remarkable assurance: “God has visited and redeemed!”

Second, the coming of Jesus the Messiah is a visitation of God to our world: “The God of Israel has visited and redeemed.” For centuries, the Jewish people had languished under the conviction that God had withdrawn: the spirit of prophecy had ceased, Israel had fallen into the hands of Rome. And all the godly in Israel were awaiting the visitation of God. Luke tells us in 2.25 that the devout Simeon was “looking for the consolation of Israel.” And in Luke 2.38 the prayerful Anna was “looking for the redemption of Jerusalem.”

These were days of great expectation. Now the long-awaited visitation of God was about to happen— indeed, he was about to come in a way no one expected.

 John Piper. Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent

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I had a conversation with a friend recently that touched upon some hard things. A family member was struggling with another family member; as my friend confided in me, he shared that he longed to see forgiveness and restoration. It was hard.

We talked about this: that God makes the impossible, possible. That people change.

There is always hope.

I am convinced of this, that any of us who follow Jesus are continually in process. We are changing. If we are not changing, we are static, stuck. We are branches of a vine; we are straining towards a future that should include fruit. Sweetness. Joy. Goodness.

The God we follow is an agent of change. And one of the greatest, most visible proofs is an honest look at our lives – at my life.

We grow. We change. We live. We learn. There is always hope.

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