Advent is a time of waiting and hoping. Interestingly, the word for “wait” and the word for “hope” are the same in Spanish. The verb is “esperar”. Israel had been waiting and hoping for God to speak for 400 years. There had been no prophecy for four long centuries. It seemed as if God had forgotten Israel, and had left her to suffer under Roman rule with its brutal puppet king Herod.

Things are about to change. God is at work. In the words of C. S. Lewis, “Aslan is on the move”.

The first two chapters of Luke’s Gospel are the fullest account we have of the birth narratives and are beautifully constructed, using the “coupling” of events of announcement and praise

Chapter 1

  • Gabriel speaks
    • of John’s birth (1:5-25)
    • of Jesus’ birth (1:26-38)
  • Elizabeth and Mary speak
    • Elizabeth’s announcement (1:41-45)
    • Mary’s praise (1:46-55)
  • Zechariah speaks
    • Zechariah’s praise (1:67-75)
    • Zechariah’s announcement (1:76-80)

Chapter 2

    • 2:10-12
    • 2:13-14
    • 2:29-32
    • 2:34-35

God is a God who speaks and subsequently acts, and for this we praise Him. For Luke the birth narratives are a fulfilment of prophecy. God is faithful to Israel because He is faithful to Abraham and the other ancestors, He will show them mercy, and He will save them from their enemies and from sin.

For Luke, the whole of Jesus’ life is a fulfilment of prophecy. In Luke 24:44-48 Jesus, talking to the disciples after his resurrection, said:

44  ‘This is what I told you while I was still with you: everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.’ 45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, ‘This is what is written: the Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’

This is the commission that Jesus gives to the disciples, to be witnesses to what God has done in Christ. This is the commission that so many years later we are also given. Let us all, this Christmas, be witnesses to those fantastic events.

A very happy Christmas from everyone at All Nations!

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