A Christmas Visit

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
header for A Christmas Visit

His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people.”
Luke 1:67-68

Zechariah the high priest, husband of Elizabeth, decided he’d heard enough from the neighbors and relatives, those who were trying to influence what these aging parents planned to name their now eight-day-old son. “His name is John,” Zechariah emphatically wrote, his pen the only voice he’d been able to use since being reduced to silence nine months earlier.

Then the unexpected happened. Again.

“Immediately,” the Bible says, God gave Zechariah back his speech (Luke 1:64). Finally, the gathered crowd could hear what this awestruck father had been saving up to say. Tell us more, they were probably all thinking, about why you insist on naming him John instead of Junior.

“God will visit again, as surely as He visited at that first Christmas.”

And yet all he could talk about was—Jesus. The supreme miracle that Zechariah had been pondering throughout all those months of forced quiet was not the birth of his own son (amazing as that was) but that of the coming Messiah, the Christ—the soon-to-be living proof that God, after all these years, had “visited and redeemed his people.”

In a Christmas context, we think of family or friends visiting for a brief, lighthearted, and (hopefully) pleasant few days of company. But when God comes to visit, He means business. It’s not a social call. According to Scripture it means that He’s seen what’s going on, He’s concerned about His people’s condition, and He’s coming to do something about it, to deliver us from a problem we can’t fix by ourselves.

Visitation is how the Bible describes God’s actions toward ancient Israel after four hundred years of Egyptian bondage. Joseph had told them long beforehand, “God will visit you and bring you up out of this land to the land that he swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob” (Gen. 50:24). Centuries later, upon the arrival of Moses, “when they heard that the Lord had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped” (Ex. 4:31).

Zechariah did the same. In his song—traditionally called the Benedictus—he recognized the day of divine visitation. As with Israel’s deliverance from Egypt, Jesus’ birth followed on the heels of a four-hundred-year interval of dark, lonely waiting. And as Zechariah’s eyes were opened to see this new visitation approaching, he too opened his mouth in thanksgiving and worship.

Today we await one final visitation of Christ, now two thousand years in coming. (And counting.) But as the children of Israel could tell you, and as Zechariah could tell you, God often delays His visit past the point when people think it’s actually going to happen. He’s been a long time coming, yes, but “the Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness” (2 Peter 3:9). He will visit again, as surely as He visited at that first Christmas.

And we can be worshiping Him for it now, in anticipation of the sure fulfillment of His promise.

My Prayer

Thank You, O Lord, for coming, for seeing, for knowing our plight, and for having mercy on our sinful, enslaved condition. Thank You, Immanuel— “God with us”—for not only visiting us but also staying with us by Your Holy Spirit. Keep us now as we await Your soon and sure return, Lord Jesus. We worship You today in confident faith and hope, with never-ending gratitude.

Key Reading

Psalm 106:1–12
“Remember me, O Lord, when you show favor to your people.” (v. 4)

Jeremiah 15:15–20
“Remember me and visit me.” (v. 15)

2 Peter 3:8–13
“We are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” (v. 13)

My Response

Think of an example from your own life—now or in your past—of waiting and praying for God’s visitation. How different might your season of waiting be if you chose worship over impatience?

For Further Reading:

The First Songs of Christmas

by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Let the songs of the first Christmas turn your heart toward God’s glory. During the holidays the musical tunes of the season are...

book cover for The First Songs of Christmas