"Therefore, this is what the LORD says: 'I will return to Jerusalem with mercy, and there my house will be rebuilt. And the measuring line will be stretched out over Jerusalem.' Proclaim further: This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'My towns will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem.'" - Zechariah 1:16-17
What incredibly good news this must have been to God's people, when they'd been in exile from their country for 70 years. Children who had been 10 years old when the enemy came and took them away from Jerusalem were 80 now, and had grandchildren, but they hadn't forgotten where they came from. Their elders had continued to tell them the stories of all the great things God had done for His children over the years, and of His promise that they would not always be slaves in another land. They had been waiting for deliverance for 70 years, and it was finally coming. They were going home.
And how much better the news is for us, for this story is only a shadow of what is to come. Sneak peek into Zechariah 2:
"'Shout and be glad, O Daughter of Zion. For I am coming, and I will live among you', declares the LORD." - Zechariah 2:10
"I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown. Him who overcomes, I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the Name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new Name. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches." - Rev. 3:11-13
God freed his people and enabled them to rebuild his temple in Zechariah's day.
God sent Jesus to live among us, to teach us, to save us - and He sent His Spirit to live in us, to make us His temple.
And He is coming back, and all things will be new.
We are living in the middle of an incredible story, with an amazing ending - an ending which is really only a beginning. And the One around Whom this whole story centers chose you.
Mark 3:13 tells of a time when Jesus "went up on a mountainside and called to Him those He wanted, and they came to Him." I remember Rich Mullins saying in an interview once how wonderful he found that verse. "Anybody can be used by God," he said, (and it's true - God can use anybody and anything to bring about His purposes) "...but to be wanted..."
God wants you.
It's the very reason Jesus was born.
So shout aloud for joy today - the King of heaven came for you, and there is no better thing we could celebrate.