The Gospel according to Luke (1:67-79)
Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; for he has come to his people and set them free. He has raised up for us a mighty Savior, born of the house of his servant David. Through his prophets he promised of old that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant. This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hand of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. 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.”
Opening Prayer: Lord I come before you for this time of prayer to be with you. Tonight, we celebrate your birth, and I need you to be born into my heart. As I open my heart to you in prayer, fill me with greater faith in hope; root my heart in greater hope in you; and let me love you just a bit more this Christmas. Jesus, you come to me; I want to be here for you.
Encountering Christ: Zechariah speaks truths that could only be known by him through the gift of faith. There is little doubt that his long exile of silence, after being struck mute by the Angel Gabriel, resulted in him seeking, hearing and understanding the mystery that was before him. He came to realize that his little child was the one who would prepare the immediate way for the Lord. He came to understand this baby’s singular prophetic role in the salvation of the world. He saw his son as the “dawn” which was to announce the rising Sun.
In our churches tonight we will gather and celebrate the birth of the Christ child. But do we only celebrate that new birth once a year or do we carry it with us all year long. We are brought to this moment of anticipation and amazement in order to become more fully united in God’s plan of salvation. Yes, we are part of that plan, just like Jesus, John the Baptist and many others, and we must continue to do our part to carry the message of the Christ to others just like John the Baptist did.
Action of the Day: I will strive to raise my heart and mind to you amidst the busyness and preparations and pray, “Come, Lord Jesus!”