Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion; for lo, I come and I will dwell in the midst of you, says the Lord. And many nations shall join themselves to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people; and I will dwell in the midst of you, and you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. And the Lord will inherit Judah as his portion in the holy land, and will again choose Jerusalem. Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling. – Zechariah 2:10-13
In the daily lectionary, there are no specially appointed readings for Christmas Eve, so we are reading the Old Testament lesson for Christmas Day.
It is appropriate, however, because it prophesies of that time when God will “rouse himself from his holy dwelling” and come to be with His people. And that Christmas Eve, God did indeed rouse himself and come to earth in Jesus, to make his holy dwelling with us!
Of all the times in the Church year, I especially appreciate time for silence and quiet on Christmas Eve. Oh, I love the crowd of worshipers, the wonderful carols and hymns. I even like seeing the “C and E folks”—those who only show up on Christmas and Easter! But still, as the congregation is gathered and candles are lighted for the reading of the Gospel, I love the silence in the warm, candle-lit church, as we proclaim, “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled…” (Luke 2:1)
As a pastor, I also very much cherished arriving home after the midnight service—when my family were nestled in bed—and having some quiet moments to myself in the soft light of our Christmas tree. “Be silent, all flesh, before the Lord…”
Prayer: Lord God, we give you thanks that you did rouse yourself from your holy dwelling to live among us, full of grace and truth, in Jesus your Son. Amen.
Advent Action: Please take time—even a few moments in between worship and mealtime and family and fun—to be silent before the Lord!
The 2016 Advent Devotional, based on Year I of the LBW and written by Pastor David Wendel, is available for download/printing in two formats and as a daily text/email message.