I have a love-hate relationship with recycling. Our local trash company has gone to extreme measures to help families with the task. They provide a box for containers as well as a roll-out dumpster with a helpful label inside the lid to help families classify their recyclable items. In the words of Kermit the Frog, “It’s not easy being green.” But we’re getting better.
My wife thinks it’s a good idea to recycle pop cans. Not in the bin, mind you. After all, each Diet Coke can is worth a nickel. So we cull those cans out and take them to a redemption center. (For those of you who are not fluent in spouse-ese, that means it’s my job to bag the cans and haul them to the grocery store for redemption, even though I don’t drink canned soda.) Each can times .05 = lunch money.
Zechariah’s prophetic word in Luke 1 speaks of the birth of Christ in terms of redemption. Those of you who have taken choir will recognize these words as the lyrical content of Benedictus, or “blessing.” Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Zechariah proclaims, “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has visited and provided redemption for his people. He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, just as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets in ancient times;” (Luke 1:68-70, HCSB).
Zechariah’s words provide us with a beautiful picture of what God was about to accomplish in the first Christmas. To redeem something means to buy it back for a price. Christ came to redeem us from sin. Like those pop cans, our lives are empty, void, and for all intents and purposes, worthless. We are no good to ourselves or to anyone else. Yet God sees the potential in us. He values us and loves us to the extent that He is willing to “buy us back” so that we can become new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17). But it took more than a nickel. It took the very life of Jesus to pay the price. With Zechariah let us exclaim, “Praise the Lord!”