I’m writing this on the train back from Ilkley. I’m just returning home from a wonderful performance of Handel’s Messiah by the Otley and Ilkley Choral Societies. The Messiah includes part of our reading for today so I smiled as the soprano sang:Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout, O daughter of Jerusalem; behold, thy king cometh unto thee. He is the righteous Saviour, and he shall speak peace unto the heathen.
Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!I will take away the chariots from Ephraim
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
and the warhorses from Jerusalem,
and the battle bow will be broken.
He will proclaim peace to the nations.
His rule will extend from sea to sea
and from the River to the ends of the earth. As for you, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
I will free your prisoners from the waterless pit.
Return to your fortress, you prisoners of hope;
even now I announce that I will restore twice as much to you.
I will bend Judah as I bend my bow
and fill it with Ephraim.
I will rouse your sons, Zion,
against your sons, Greece,
and make you like a warrior’s sword. Then the Lord will appear over them;
his arrow will flash like lightning.
The Sovereign Lord will sound the trumpet;
he will march in the storms of the south,
and the Lord Almighty will shield them.
They will destroy
and overcome with slingstones.
They will drink and roar as with wine;
they will be full like a bowl
used for sprinkling the corners of the altar. The Lord their God will save his people on that day
as a shepherd saves his flock.
They will sparkle in his land
like jewels in a crown. How attractive and beautiful they will be!
Grain will make the young men thrive,
and new wine the young women. (Zechariah 9:9-17 NIV)
This time when I read this passage the part that stood out for me was “they will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown”.
I am very lucky to have an antique diamond engagement ring. Often in church when the light is pouring through the windows the ring truly does sparkle beautifully and dapples the seat where I am sitting. At Christmas there seems also to be a lot of reference to sparkles – especially in adverts: “let your Christmas sparkle”. Sometimes we also use it as metaphor: “that presentation really sparkled.”Zechariah is describing those who have been saved – that they will sparkle in the land.
How does your knowledge of your salvation sparkle in you? What is it about the gospel that makes you glow? How can you ‘shine as a light in the world’ this Christmas in your family, at work and in church?Next time you see a sparkling Christmas tree remember this verse from Zechariah: “they will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown”.