“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.”
As I do my personal daily devotions this passage is always a part of my Matins (morning prayers). This Song of Zechariah, which is also known as the Benedictus, is historically a part of Matins within many communities.
It speaks today to the Advent season and the place that John the Baptist has within the story of Jesus. As John prepares the way for the coming of the Messiah we get this announcement from his father that he will be the prophet to prepare the way. We all have high expectations for our own children and it is here that Zechariah shares his, which he has received from God.
This sounds like a lot of pressure to put upon one child, yet as we read ahead a couple of chapters in Luke we know that he is up to the task at hand. Many times we want our children to be the “one” with it all that is in charge and is looked up to and admired by everyone else. John is in a place of honor simply by preparing the way and being the prophet of the Most High. May we be so proud to proclaim the gospel of Jesus as well.
God of Light, we pray that as we move forward into this Advent season that you continue to guide and lead us so that we may follow the example of John the Baptist and continue to prepare the way of the Messiah. AMEN.