As familiar as we are with the songs of Christmas, there are four songs recorded in the Bible sung by people surrounding the birth of Jesus that aren't sung much at all now. The angels sang a song to the shepherds (we know part of their song: "And on earth peace and goodwill toward men.."). Mary sang a song to God after she had time to get over the shocking news that she was going to be the mother of the Savior. Simeon had a song that we'll talk about in a few weeks.
Then there's Zechariah's song. Zechariah was an elderly priest who sang after being visited by an angel. Zechariah didn't suddenly burst into song - this wasn't like a Broadway musical. What happened is the ancient church captured their words and created songs known as canticles.
Our readings for this week: Isaiah 2: 1-5; Luke 1: 67-79.
Plan to join us this Sunday morning at 10:30 am or go to our FB page to link to Youtube live on Sunday mornings or anytime on our website redoakpresbyterianchurch.com
Questions to Ponder:
1. How do you prepare for the Advent season? While we have many traditions, like putting up a tree, decorating or baking, what about how you prepare your heart and mind for the coming of Jesus Christ?
2. What are your feelings/thoughts about silence? Is it a gift? Is it something you avoid?
3. While "silence is golden", God was silent for 400 years between the writing of the Old and New Testaments. Have you ever had a time in your life when God was silent?
4. To break the silence, God sent an angel to speak to Zechariah. Zechariah and Elizabeth were old, yet God said they were going to be blessed with a son. When Zechariah said, "Are you sure?", the angel responded by telling him he would be unable to speak. Do you think silence was a gift or a punishment for Zechariah?
5. Even when God is silent, God is busy working. This was true for the people of God during those 400 years and it is true for us today. In your own life, when have you seen God working when He is silent?
6. In his song, Zechariah shares four beautiful pictures of what the coming of Jesus Christ to earth really means: the opening of a prison door, the winning of a battle, the canceling of a debt and the dawn of a new day. Is there one of those pictures that is especially meaningful to you this Advent season?
7. Even in apparent silence, God is preparing you and me for Christmas. He's not preparing us for the holiday of Christmas, but for the reality of Christmas: "God with us." What does it mean to you that Jesus is Emmanuel, God with us?
8. How can you spend this Advent season in praise to God?
9. Why is silence a blessing, especially during the Advent/Christmas season?