And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” – Luke 1:76-79 ESV
In the lead up to the birth of Jesus comes the birth of one of his relatives, John the Baptist. And John’s father, Zechariah, has a few things to say about both of these babies. Zechariah’s words are all the more significant because he hadn’t uttered a word for months! Why? Because God had silenced him due to his disbelief of the angel Gabriel’s message about his son. But after John the Baptist is born, Zechariah’s mouth is opened, and he immediately praises God and prophesies. In fact, his words serve to prepare our hearts for celebrating Jesus’ birth at Christmas.
Zechariah says of his own son, “[he] will be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways.” Certainly, John would prepare the way for the promised savior, Jesus. But John would also prepare the people to receive “the knowledge of salvation” from the Lord, granting them the “forgiveness of their sins.”
This Christmas season, I encourage you to take note of the miracles that God has worked to bring Jesus into the world. By His power, Elizabeth, past the normal years of conception bore a son, John the Baptist. By the power of God, the birth of this son was foretold centuries before. By His power, this son would prepare the way for Jesus, who makes salvation possible for all who trust in Him. And the God who had done this: He knows your situation, your struggles, and your fears. He “guides our feet into the way of peace!”