The dedication of a baby is a special event. On that important day, the parents and infant dress for the occasion, standing in front of the congregation while the pastor officiates. Church practices may differ, but they have a similar intent—that these little ones will know God and experience His blessing. It is a solemn moment, as parents, family members, and the church pledge to raise this child to know and love God.
Today is the fourth and final Sunday of Advent. Our reading is Zechariah’s song on the occasion of the birth of his son, John the Baptist. Packed with Old Testament allusions, this song is primarily about God and the coming of the Messiah. God’s promises and plan of redemption had been at work throughout biblical history (vv. 68–75). Now a “horn of salvation” (v. 69) had been raised up, just as God had promised to Abraham and foretold through many prophets. This Person would serve God in perfect righteousness and bring divine mercy and deliverance to us who are helpless to save ourselves.
Zechariah’s son, John, would prepare the way with a message of repentance and forgiveness (vv. 76–77). He would be followed by the Messiah Himself, Jesus Christ (vv. 78–79). He would bring spiritual light (see Isa. 9:2) and “guide our feet into the path of peace.” Peace with God would come at a high price, paid by God Himself through the death of His Son. While today’s parents wish all good things for their child’s future, Jesus was born at Christmas in order to be “pierced for our transgressions” and “crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds, we are healed” (Isa. 53:5).
>> We’ve shared several favorite Christmas songs, poems, and books during this month’s study. What are some of your personal favorites? How do they help prepare your heart for Christmas? Why not gift one to a friend?
Father, thank you for your redeeming love that gave us eternal life, joy, and peace in Christ. Help us to walk worthy of your kingdom!