The Gospel has Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist speaking prophetically. He said, “The dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
Zechariah has us wanting not to see Santa coming down the chimney nor to listen chestnuts roasting by an open fire; or not even to hear Tiny Tim saying, “God bless us everyone.”
No, he has us gleefully anticipating the “dawn from on high breaking upon us.” Christ coming into our lives is the bright dawn bursting over our minds, over our futures, over relationships that had been swaddled in darkness.
I love St. John’s description of the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles the December before Christ died. We find it in John, Chapter Eight. All that week the people were oohing and aahing over an immense torch in the temple courtyard. The torch represented the cloud of fire that led the Israelites through the dark nights of their forty years in the desert.
Sadness came over the throng in the temple courtyard that last night of the feast. They knew the great torch was about to be distinguished for another year. They were gripped with silence the moment the torch was snuffed. Then, a great voice broke out over the crowd. It was Jesus calling out, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you will not walk in darkness.”
He is the dawn from on high prophesied by Zechariah. He will dispel the shadow of death. He will guide our feet in the way of peace.