|In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
To shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death
And to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Witnessed in Luke’s Gospel as the prophetic utterance of John the Baptist’s father, Zachariah, these words pour forth from what had been the prophet’s mute tongue. His unbelief at the promise of God is transformed into belief and eternal pronouncement by the Holy Spirit, and the words fill our hearts and souls with the Father’s response to our darkened and sinful world.
To shine on those who dwell in darkness . . . and death
The dawn from on high shall break (has broken) upon us . . .
Exhausted as I was by the trauma of world and national news, saddened by the death of a friend, impatient with the petty conflicts of overworked and weary co-workers, burdened by a long day ahead prepared for by a night short of sleep, I was totally stunned by the beauty, the promise, the glorious promise of “dearest freshness deep down things.” I startled myself and my little dog as I cried out Zechariah’s doxology:
In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us . . and guide our feet into the WAY.
As we sing in the Christmas festival tonight may your celebration of the sending of God’s Son into our broken world bring you every gift of grace you long for on this Vigil of Eternal-Mercy-outpouring wherever you are in God’s world!
Oh, Radiant dawn, splendor of eternal light . . . come . . .