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This is the last in a series of daily Advent reflections based on the appointed daily readings. To see the other posts in this series click on the Advent Reflections link above, or in the right-hand sidebar under categories.

My thanks to those of you who have journeyed with me through the days of Advent by reading my daily reflections.  It’s been good to have the company.  This is the last day of Advent 2012.  Tomorrow is a new day, and a new season when we celebrate the incarnation.  Literally this means “in the flesh” or as David Lose has described it ‘God with meat on’.   2000 years ago a new dawn was breaking in on creation.  Tonight and tomorrow Christians around the world will celebrate the nativity of Jesus the Christ.

Today we celebrate with Zechariah as he proclaims both the dawning of the new age, and the role his new-born son John will play.

Dawn has always been a special time for me.  We were able to enjoy this sunrise view every morning for two weeks in 2009.

Dawn heralds a new day

Dawn heralds a new day

We are fortunate to have an east facing condominium in Winnipeg, where the sunrises are especially beautiful in the long winter months.  They are also more convenient in the winter as they happen between 7 and 8 am.  Whereas in the summer we need to be up before 5 to enjoy them.

I’m not sure what it is about these two photographs of Waimea Canyon that spoke to me when considering today’s readings.  Something about the wilderness, the vastness of the valley and the life-giving waterfall make me think of John the Baptist.

Waterfall P1011281

Layson Albatross - Moli

Layson Albatross – Moli

My spirit soars as I look at this magnificent Albatross gliding so effortless over the water. It feels right for reading about Zechariah’s soaring spirit after the birth of John.

Today’s reading is Luke 1:67-79 click on this link for the full text.  I have copied an excerpt below.

Luke 1:76-79

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
by the forgiveness of their sins.
By the tender mercy of our God,
the dawn from on high will break upon us,
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.’

After the naming of his son, John, Zechariah could speak again. He praised God and made a prophesy.  It is that prophesy that forms today’s text.   Zechariah was sure that God’s long awaited promises were about to be fulfilled.  This prophecy was said to the baby John. A saviour would be raised up among the people of Israel; and Zechariah’s very own son, John, would be called God’s prophet.   John would have the great role of preparing the people for the arrival of the Messiah.  He would teach the people how to find salvation through God’s forgiveness.

Then Zechariah spoke the wonderful words that I have highlighted above.  Zechariah didn’t know that through the power of the Holy Spirit he was speaking about the birth of John’s own cousin, Jesus of Nazareth.

As we end this Advent season in expectation, let’s move into the celebration of the nativity with Zechariah’s words lifting our hearts – ‘the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’

May the light of Christ break upon us, shining in our hearts, and may we truly be guided to walk the way of peace.  Amen

Have a blessed Christmas.