4th Sunday in Advent

Image - Vision of Zechariah
How will I know that this is so … besides all of this, presumably?

The text for class this morning was Luke 1:8-23 – “the vision of Zechariah,” sometimes called – and I am curious about it. Zechariah is serving as a priest in the Temple (2nd Temple, this is), and is visited by the Angel Gabriel. And the Angel tells him he will become the father of the child who will turn out to be John the Baptist, who “with the spirit and power of Elijah … will go before him [… the messiah, presumably], to turn the hearts of parents to their children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” This is a reference to Malachi 4:5-6:

Lo, I will send you the prophet Elijah before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse.

But my question is – and it is a serious question, I don’t know the answer, I’m pondering: why is turning the hearts of parents toward their children part of this preparation? This does not seem at all obvious; it is maybe a little surprising that it is necessary; it makes me think of Crosby Stills & Nash (“teach your parents well, their children’s hell …”); the few comments I’ve read don’t seem to explain it satisfactorily, in my opinion; but then, I haven’t been able to do any better … so I remain …  curious …

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