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."
Introductory Prayer:Lord, you loosed Zechariah’s tongue to remind us that you have not forgotten us. Help us to turn to you, knowing that you have a plan for us to fulfill.
Petition:Lord, increase my faith in you.
1. “Blessed Be the Lord.” The Lord will never forget us. From the moment of Adam and Eve’s fall, God indicated that he would send someone to redeem us, namely, his Son. “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel” (Genesis 3:15). Even after centuries had passed, and it seemed like all was lost and man was left to suffer in his own sin, Jesus Christ entered the world. Zechariah had doubted the plan of God when Gabriel appeared to him in the temple, when he said: “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years” (Luke 1:18). Gabriel closes his mouth to speech to show him and the others in Nazareth that “what was spoken…by the Lord would be fulfilled" (Luke 1:45).
2. He Has Set His People FreeThe Lord God hasbrought freedom to his people. Long before John the Baptist’s birth, God had brought his people physical freedom, first from the Egyptians and then from rival peoples and the Babylonians. Now, through John the Baptist, he seeks to bring them spiritual freedom, freedom from sin. John will proclaim: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his path” (Mark 1:5). The preparation that John seeks is spiritual preparation, one where people seek to cast aside sinful ways of life and attitudes contrary to holiness. The freedom that he desires is a freedom from sin, a freedom where one chooses to do what is good. When one is free from sin, then one can truly worship the Lord. God has set us free so that we may give him the love that is his due.
3. God Is With Us. He is really with us. He is not with us only in spirit, but now also in person. God enters history, taking his place in space and time. He has taken on flesh, and he is with us. The person he is, God the Son, made man for us, is no less God than the Father. Yet he loves us so much that he will walk upon the earth with us. He is Emmanuel, and now Emmanuel takes on a real physical meaning in the person of Jesus Christ. He has come to us so that we may participate in his plan. He wants us to be with him forever, and so his Son enters the world to remind us of our destiny in life––heaven.
Dialogue with Christ: Lord, you have not let us down. How great you are, and how little we recognize your greatness. You have loved and looked after us so that we might have eternal life. Prepare me for your coming.
Resolution: I will arrive at least five minutes before Christmas Mass starts to thank the Lord for not forgetting us and for sending his Son to save us.