Luke 1:68–79 What makes you happy? Maybe you keep searching and you don’t know what makes you happy. You see in magazines, internet and TV that many promise happiness. Some say, “If only I had ___, drove __, or bought __ I would be happy.” At first, those may make you happy but none of them keep you happy. Some of you may be searching and you have forgotten what makes you happy. Anyone can market and sell quick happiness, but not real happiness. Happiness is more about who than what. You learned this long ago because in the backyard it didn’t matter what you had. Who you were with made the difference. School could be crummy or you can have a terrible job but it can be ok as long as you are with the right who. If happiness was about a what, we would go out and get our “happy what” and everyone would be happy. You could wrap it and put it under the Christmas tree. But “happy what” always leads to “happy what else.” You see it with your job, with your cell phone, with anything. If an aging “what” ultimately deflates your happiness, then you weren’t actually happy in the first place. You were just successfully marketed. Zachariah understood this. He was searching for a who that would make him happy. But at first it was the wrong who. Him and his wife, Elizabeth, both wanted children but were unable. They wanted a person to hold in their arms, a child to love and care for. It was not a what that would make them happy but who could make them happy. Women were disgraced in those days if they couldn’t have children. Zachariah had a special job as a priest and there would be no boy to carry on that work. He had no daughters to give away in marriage. Only the Messiah could speak to the heart and made him feel at peace, but God was so silent. Until God sent an angel to Zachariah. While he was serving in the temple, Zachariah was told that he would have not just a boy, but the boy that would prepare for the Messiah. Zachariah’s son would be John the Baptist, of whom Jesus said, “There is no one greater that John.” But Zachariah doubted that this would be possible. One would think he would shout for joy. It only proves that a child would not make him happy. Only the Child, the Messiah, could make him happy. So, God shut Zachariah’s mouth and he was mute for nine months. The silence proved helpful to him. He was searching but in the wrong place. But then he found it. Zechariah was looking for life, for happiness for peace but didn’t find it. God was silent. When God finally spoke, he should have trusted God’s word, but sin and doubt ruled his mind. He was searching for happiness in the wrong place. There was no joy to be found. Can you relate? Are you truly happy? What are you missing? Sin causes the holes, the unhappiness, and the not-peaceful times in our lives. The bible says that with sin comes death. You may see this because anytime there is a hurt in a relationship some sin has killed that peace. Or you feel a death inside you caused by sin which is why we struggle for happiness. We often look to a what to be happy. You look to success or to how God is blessing you. “If he is not giving me success then he must not like me.” You look to yourselves, “I must do something in order to attain this peace with God. I have to get rid of some sin.” We look for something when God is telling us happiness is in someone. Fast forward nine months. John is born. His boy has come In the presence of everyone, at the naming of his boy John, Zachariah praised God. 68 “Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people. 69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David 70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago), 71 salvation from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us— 72 to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, 73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham: 74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear 75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. Listen to what Zachariah said. God has come at the right time to save us. Zachariah understood that happiness was found in God. God has come with a purpose to help. In our sinfulness that God sent his own Son to save us. Zachariah praises God for saving his people. God saved them from those who hated them, (Satan would be the worst) and God rescued them from the hands of their enemies. God has come to rescue you, to show mercy to you, to save you from your enemy, to fill that emptiness with himself. He did it all through his Son, Jesus. When someone walks into the room, a someone can change the dynamics. There is nothing happier than the right person coming at the right time. In 2003, Dorothy Fletcher was on a plane from Manchester to her granddaughter’s wedding in Florida. She had a heart attack midflight. When the stewardess asked if there was a doctor on board, 15 cardiologists on their way to a cardiology conference stood up and rushed in to help. The right person at the right time saved her life. God has come to save you. Happiness is not found in a thing, but a relationship. God has done everything for this relationship. Happiness is not about the what, not the what you do or the what you possess, but the who. That who is Jesus who died for your sins and made peace with God. God has come. After this, Zachariah turned to his infant son, John, and speaks. 76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, 77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, 78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven 79 to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” Even in speaking about John, Zachariah can’t help but praise God for these spiritual blessings that come when God comes. Notice God’s forgiveness of sins that shines in the darkness. It guides our feet in peace. Only forgiveness can really bring us peace between God and peace with others. Only forgiveness can bring us the right relationship that brings true happiness. It all comes when you God comes. When you come to realize God has forgiven you, you come to grips that he is the only one who will make you truly happy. Christmas is all about life. These past few years we’ve had to come to grips with death. When you are close to death, what are you going to look back at and think “I wish…”? “I wish I would have spent more time on Tic Tok. I wish I would have watched more TV or played video games. I wish I would have spent more time at work. I wish I would have spent more time getting money. I wish I would have spent more time eating. I wish I would have spent more time drinking.” No thing will ever make you truly happy. No thing can bring lasting joy. Christ gives you a new joy and a new life, one of purpose and one of relationship with him. You are at peace with God whether you feel it or not. Christ has done that. God has come. Amen.
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