We are excited to share Day 9 of WL Advent with this story behind the song “SONG OF ZECHARIAH” from David LaChance Jr..
Day 9 Story from David LaChance Jr.:
The song is based on Zechariah’s song in Luke 1, also known historically as
the Benedictus. Zechariah’s song is one of three songs found in the
opening chapters of Luke. The first part of Zechariah’s song is a song of
thanksgiving for the realized fruition of the Israelite’s Messianic hopes, while the second part of his song is an explanation of the prophetic role his son John would play in preparing the way for the Messiah (Isaiah 40:3).
In this song, I only use the first portion of Zechariah’s song, using his
structure but paraphrasing in my verses. For the Chorus, I make a thematic
leap over to Christ’s Triumphal Entry in Luke 19 and use “Hosanna”, which
is a simultaneous praise for salvation and plea to be saved (Psalm 118:22-
27), as a summation of Zechariah’s theme.
For corporate application, I had in mind the ‘already/not yet’ tension of the
Christian life. We are able to praise without any doubt that God has saved
His people once and for all, and yet we are aware that we are a people who
are being saved through suffering and defeat in this world and are still
groaning for the consummation of Christ’s Kingdom. However, we are not
without a firm hope. So, even after Christ’s declaration that “It is finished”
our song remains “Hosanna in the highest!” which literally means, ‘God has
saved His people and will save His people’. This is emphatically restated in
the bridge of the song: “We sing a song of faith, we sing a song of hope, we
sing a song of love, and for the sake of (love) we are saved.” (John 3:16,
This song celebrates God’s involvement with His people and His
faithfulness—and this work of God began at the stable in Bethlehem. At
Christmas we look back and praise God for the incomparable gift of his Son,
Jesus; and yet the Advent season is also a time when we look forward to
Christ’s second advent when Jesus will finally be vindicated before all men
and His Kingdom consummated, where we will reign with Him forever.
Hosanna in in the highest!
Day 9 Song:
Isaiah 35: 1-10
Resp. Psalm 85: 9ab and 10-14
Luke 5: 17-26
What is Advent? By Robb Redman
Christmas is a fantastic season and there is every reason to pull out all the stops to celebrate the Incarnation, God “moving into the neighborhood.” (John 1:14, Message) But by starting our Christmas celebration right after Thanksgiving (or even earlier), we skip over Advent, the four Sundays prior to Christmas Eve. The mood and message of Advent is not opposed to the celebration of Christmas, but the season is clearly much more than just the run-up to Christmas. It is a season to experience God’s goodness and faithfulness more authentically from a different, and frankly, a deeper and more encouraging angle. And who couldn’t use that right now?
You see, the Advent message is the perfect one for pastors and worship leaders trying to serve God and his people during a time of a global pandemic. We’ve been telling our people since March in response to the pandemic that God is in control, but we’ve been saying it so long that we’ve run out ways to say it, and we’re wondering if people have started tuning us out. And some of us are starting to have doubts and questions of our own. With Christmas around the corner, what can encourage us and restore our hope and faith in God again? We need to be immersed in the reminder and reassurance of God’s sovereign plans and purposes if we’re going to lead with confidence. Which is why Advent is important now more than ever.
What is Advent? This year, first Sunday of Advent falls on November 29, so there are 26 days in the season. Advent is more than a pre-Christmas celebration of the birth of Jesus. Throughout the history of the Church, Advent has been about much more. The traditional mood and message of Advent includes three main themes:
- Israel’s yearning for deliverance and its hope and expectation of the appearing (Latin: advent) of the promised Messiah.
- God’s preparation for the coming of the Messiah through the announcements to Mary, Joseph, and Mary’s extended family.
- The Church’s longing for the return of Christ and the fulfillment of redemption at the day of the Lord.
The readings for Advent in the Protestant and Roman Catholic lectionaries reflect these three main themes of the season. During Advent we re-live and re-tell the important prophecies and stories that proclaim the God who keeps his promises. It is this “back story” of Israel’s experience and faith, and a specific Jewish family, that makes the news of Jesus’ birth truly gospel, really good news.
The hope and expectation of God’s covenant people for deliverance is found throughout the Old Testament prophets. They warned the people of imminent disaster resulting from disobedience to God through idolatry and faith in political alliances, but they also proclaimed God’s promise of deliverance and restoration. After the fall of Jerusalem, the prophets continued to hope in God, who would restore Israel and rule in righteousness through his Messiah. More than that, they saw the bigger picture of God’s redemptive purposes, his intended to defeat evil, sin and death itself, and restore all nations to a right relationship with him in the day of the Lord.
In the years leading up to Jesus’ birth, the plight of God’s people went from bad to worse. Israel was occupied, first by the Greeks and then the Romans. Worst of all, God seemed silent; four hundred years had passed since the last prophet, Malachi. The opening chapters of Matthew and Luke report that God was on the move, quietly and in the most inconspicuous ways, making preparations for the arrival of his Son, Jesus, through Mary and her family, and her fiancé, Joseph. The time had come, and God set in motion the events that would culminate in the birth of Jesus, the Incarnation. Paul tells us that “…when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law…” (Galatians 4:4)
Finally, hope of Israel and the first advent of Jesus serve to direct our attention to his second and more glorious coming. Advent reminds us that God’s plans and purposes will one day unfold on a global scale, and “that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:10-11)
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Robb Redman is currently Professor of Theology and Ministry and Director of Ministry Programs at South College (TN). He also serves as Consulting Editor for Worship Leader magazine since its inception in 1992. He has previously served as an academic leader at Fuller Theological Seminary, A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary/Simpson University, Multnomah Biblical Seminary/Multnomah University, and South University. Ordained in the Christian & Missionary Alliance, he has pastored congregations in Oregon, California, Texas, and Georgia. He currently lives near Savannah, GA.