Thursday, December 24 – Christmas Eve
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.
This section in the first chapter of Luke has come to be called The Benedictus. It’s one of the three canticles in the first two chapters of Luke. It’s used in various faith traditions. In the Anglican tradition it’s one of the canticles used in the service of Morning Prayer. Verses 68-75 are thanksgiving for the coming Messiah and 76-79 concern Zechariah’s son, John (The Baptist). This prophecy was delivered by John’s father at his son’s circumcision ceremony.
When Father’s Day comes around again I will, of course, be thinking of my father and likely visit his grave. This passage reminds me that I should also think of two other fathers, Zacharias and Joseph. Both were faced with their son’s sacrificing their lives for us, John to prepare the way and Jesus to be the way. How difficult this must have been for them. They both knew that their sons were destined for something far beyond the ordinary since birth. But I doubt that any amount of preparation could have made it easy for them. I think they were clearly both touched and blessed by God. Thankfully I never have, and never will, face such a difficult task. I can only be grateful to those who have. “Because of the tender mercy of our God” (verse 78).