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(Zechariah said) "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"
(Luke 1:78-79a).       Read Luke 1:76-79.
In Charles Dickens' book The Christmas Carol, Bob
Cratchit looks at his eldest son, nearly grown and about to
leave home, and tells his family, "But however and
whenever we part from one another, I am sure we shall
none of us forget poor Tiny Tim -- shall we -- or this first
parting that there was among us."
The first parting among my family was my father's death.
The next Christmas we tried hard to recapture the joy
and laughter of former Christmases, but we all felt the
empty place his parting had left behind.
In Zechariah's words of praise to God, he briefly turns to
speak of his son John and the great work God would
accomplish through him as Jesus' great prophet and
forerunner. But now he turns back to Jesus' far greater
He describes Jesus as the sun that comes to us from
heaven. Just as the morning sun rises to scatter the
darkness of night, Jesus Christ will arise to shatter the
darkness of sin, doubt and death. Jesus comes to those
sitting in darkness and the shadow of death. They are
sitting because they have no power or hope; they have
given up the fight. But through His life, death and
resurrection, Jesus has scattered the shadow that death
casts across us. Raising us to our feet by faith, He sets
us moving toward heaven again. He guides our feet along
the way of peace that leads to God the Father's
presence in heaven-and a joyous eternal reunion with
our loved ones-those who have died in faith.
Lord Jesus, shine Your light on our darkness, comfort us
in our grief, and set our feet once again on the path of
peace -- the road to heaven. Amen.
(Advent Devotions from Lutheran Hour Ministries)

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