Luke 1: 67-79
Eight days after the birth of John the Baptist, his father Zechariah, the old priest who had been mute during the pregnancy of his old wife, regained speech and burst into song by the Holy Spirit at his circumcision. So ends Luke 1 and the pre-story to the Christmas story.
In the face of the seeming impossible event, Zechariah bursts forth in praise. He praises his God who has visited his people and raised up a child to be the prophet and prepare the way for the Messiah. Makes me wonder if we are praising a God who interacts in our reality today or are we trying to please a God that we experience as far away and judgmental? Zechariah does not focus on a judge that is distant, watching his life. Zechariah foresees this God acting in history for the salvation and deliverance from enemies.
Zechariah, as a priest, knows the history of the Jewish people and the times they have failed God and wandered and been exiled. He does not focus on their failures but on God’s faithfulness to his covenant with them. I love verse 73, “to rescue us from the hand of our enemies, and to enable us to serve him without fear..” Service out of gratitude, without fear is not how we often see God. Zechariah continues overjoyed that his son will have the privilege of serving God, leading people to the awareness of the forgiveness of their sins. He is not wishing wealth or health for his son but joyful that his son can serve.
As we think of our prayers for our children, grandchildren or even friends at this Christmas time, we might listen to this youtube version of Zechariah’s song and reflect on how we pray for our loved ones. Lord, open my ears and my heart!