Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translation
Our mighty savior has come, fulfilling God’s promise. What a cause for rejoicing! Zechariah rejoiced at knowing his son John would play a vital role in preparing the Lord’s path and heralding salvation through His name. We also rejoice as we share the peace of Emmanuel with others. We remember especially this night how God’s Word became flesh, showing us how to love unconditionally and taking our sins upon His own shoulders.
Zechariah’s wonderful prophecy can be summed up with perhaps the Bible’s greatest, most definitive scripture passage… that God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
—Mike Gabriele is the Communications Director for the Maryland Province Jesuits, with offices in Towson, MD.
O Lord, you have come to us as a small child, but you have brought us the greatest of all gifts, the gift of eternal love. Caress us with your tiny hands, embrace us with your tiny arms, and pierce our hearts with your soft, sweet cries.
—Nativity prayer of St. Bernard of Clairvaux