Over the past number of weeks, I have had the privilege of more thoroughly studying the book of Zechariah, a minor prophet in the Old Testament, written half a millennium before the birth of Christ. One commentator notes that Zechariah was arguably one of the most influential of the Minor Prophets in the New Testament and is quoted or referenced 71 times! One such passage is that of Zechariah 9, which says, “Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt, the foal of a donkey” (v. 9). Fast forward 500+ years and we read of this prophetic fulfillment in Matthew 21 when Jesus sent two of His disciples to retrieve a donkey and a colt. “The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats.” Jesus, King of kings, Messiah, made His final entrance in Jerusalem on the back of an unbroken donkey. Embodying meekness in every way, a word indicating a gentle and calm disposition that lends itself to reconciliation, the crowds surrounded Jesus and exclaimed, “Hosanna to the Son of David; blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord; hosanna in the highest!” (v. 9).
As we reflect on this season to remember and celebrate the fulfillment of this humble and meek Servant, Savior, and King, I am taken aback by this fact: Jesus was born to die. To die for the sins of the world, for my sins and yours, such that by His sacrifice we are the recipients of His amazing grace and salvation. Jesus entered into our brokenness in a humble state (human, yet divine) with the cross (and His resurrection) in mind!
Aside from Christmas, December is my least favorite month for the mere fact that it is such a dark season, literally! As I leave each morning to take the kids to school, it is still dark. Leaving my office to return home, it is already dark. Not only is it a darkness, but it is a thick and dense darkness at that! So while I truly despise the darkness, and agonize the short days of December, my heart is renewed in the JOY and CELEBRATION of Light! Jesus says, “I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the Light of life” (John 8:12). Jesus is the Light. As my daughter recently said during our devotion at the dinner table, the Light of Jesus is like a torch blazing bright in the middle of our dark street. Praise be to God! But not only so, for He says that whoever follows Him will no longer walk in the darkness, but that they too will have the Light of life! Through a life of knowing, loving, following, and obeying Jesus, He has placed His Light within each of us, such that wherever we are, wherever we go, we also are like a torch blazing bright in the darkness!
Friends, this is good news. This is reason to celebrate and praise our King. As we look in the world around us, and into our own lives, we see and feel this darkness, brokenness, and despair. But have hope, for it was for this reason that God sent His Son Jesus, that whoever believes in Him will not die but have everlasting life, and have it abundantly. They will have the Light of Christ, thus, hope, love, peace, and joy everlasting! The darkness will not prevail, for the Light has defeated the darkness. Therefore, go and let “your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven!” (Matthew 5:16).
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!