"It helps to ask ourselves the question Jesus so often asks the disciples: "Why are you afraid?" It helps to recall the burning bush God set before Moses, for God's fire did not destroy it. If we truly trust in God, we find more assurance than terror in the thought that God wants to purify us, so that everything false in us turns to ash, and only the good and true remain. To suffer is not a gentle thing, but the end results is pure honey."
"This child was named by God, and it does not go easy for those who are touched by God's hand. "What, then," the people wondered, "will this child become?" I hear, in that question a restating of Malachi's truth. The Lord we desire may indeed be close at hand, but it will not be easy for us to accept his call. If we continue reading in the Gospel, we find the song that Zechariah sings in praise of God, called the "Benedictus" in church tradition, and commonly recited at Morning Prayer. In this song, we find that it is not merely John the Baptist, but we ourselves who are addressed: "And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins."
"This was John's calling, and it is our own, a truth both consoling and terrifying. We are enslaved, by selfishness and addiction and all the wreckage that sin can wreck on the world, but are we willing to risk being freed? Do we dare to enter that dangerous new country, leaving sure comforts behind? Perhaps it is time to surrender, open our hearts, and accept the wonder of Christmas by saying, with Karl Rahner, "We have not choice, God is with us." (Kathleen Norris, God With Us)
Come Lord, set us free!
Let it be.