“Through the tender mercy of our God . . .
the dayspring from on high has visited us,
to give light to them that sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death,” – Luke 1:78-79
The name of Jesus we consider today is the name ‘Dayspring’. That is a quaint, oldtimey word which really simply means “dawn” or “sunrise.” But, what an interesting name for Jesus.
Many of us seldom see the sunrise – especially this time of year. But for others – those who work the night shift, farmers up doing chores before first light, or soldiers standing guard through a long, creepy night – the dawn is a most welcome sight. Everything changes when the sun comes up. It brings warmth from the cold; breadth of understanding for we can see what’s around us; and often, unspeakable beauty spread across the sky. No wonder sunrise is many people’s favorite time of the day.
So, when the old Jewish priest Zechariah was told by an angel that he would have a son (John the Baptist), he sees in that announcement an even greater good news. If God was giving him a son as a forerunner; that meant the full sunrise of God’s plan was about to dawn. Actually, Zechariah didn’t make this up; he was referring to God’s ancient promise
of a Messiah, given through Isaiah:
“The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light; on those living
in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.” – Isaiah 9:2
And Jesus’ coming has proven to be nothing less than a new dawn: suddenly, the Old Testament prophecies make more sense; God’s unfolding plans are more obvious, and the beauty of God’s grace suddenly shines everywhere. Suddenly there is hope where there was only despair; understanding where confusion had reigned; and good news of God’s grace that eclipses all the rigors of the law. Surely a new dawn has come, for Jesus, the Light of the World, has dawned upon those sitting in darkness and despair.
May you feel the warmth and see the beauty of God’s Sunrise, during these days of Advent.
~Pastor Bert Hitchcock