It might seem a little bit harsh.
Zechariah lost his voice for all of Elizabeth's pregnancy due to his display of unbelief at the declarations of an angel. God finally loosened his tongue for speech at the baby's circumcision ceremony when he agreed in writing with his wife's instructions about the miracle baby's name - John. You gotta love that!
The scripture says he was then 'filled with the Holy Spirit' and he prophesied. Just one bit of it says:
" ... the sunlight 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."
I know many who sit in darkness. Some sit in the darkness of their own sin, thinking they can generate enough light of their own to find their own way. (Glowworm Logic) I breathe prayers for them, that the light will break over their hearts and that they will rise up and "being delivered ... might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness ..." (Luke 1:74-75)
But even those who know Christ, who revealed Himself as the Light of the World, can still sit in any number of deep and overwhelming darknesses - illness, grief, loss, rejection, abuse ... it's a long list. Although the light of Christ has dawned in our lives, sometimes we are led into places that chill us with 'the shadow of death' that Zechariah mentions.
Maybe the difference lies in being led through and not sitting down!
David said Yes, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil - for YOU ARE WITH ME!
Immanuel - God with us!
In this season when it often turns out that all is NOT bright and all is NOT calm, let us press on and continue to run the race. Let's resist the overwhelming urge to fold our trembling legs and just slump into a pile of flesh mush, right in the middle of the Shadowy Valley. Toes that are pointing at the sky are not in the right position to be guided 'into the way of peace'!
We can rejoice that in John 1, the writer says that
" ... in Him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness
and the darkness has not overcome it."
THE DARKNESS HAS NOT OVERCOME IT
Now that's something to recite whenever you see those beautiful Christmas lights!
And that's what I'm going to do.
(Christmas lights on the front of our house against the evening sky.)
*** Read Zechariah's entire story here.