4th Week of Advent (24th December, 2018)

First Reading: 2 Sam 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a-16 (Kingdom of David)
Gospel: Lk 1:67-79 (Zechariah’s prophesy)

It is only a few who do recognise that whatever happens in our life is according to the plan of God. Zachariah of today’s Gospel becomes one among those few. He received great blessing from God. He rejoices over it. He does not end with this. He recognises the hand of God in it. He sings in praise of God for His blessings for the people.

The story of Christmas and all the incidents both preceding and following the birth of Christ can be succinctly put in the canticle of Zachariah. He sings, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favourably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty saviour for us in the house of his servant David” (Lk 1:68-69). The fulfilment of God’ promise in and through Jesus Christ is a major theme of Christmas. Then Zachariah says about the purpose of the birth of Jesus. He says, “He has raised up a mighty saviour for us in the house of his servant David… that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us” (Lk 1:69, 71). So, Jesus was born in our midst so that all of us may receive salvation, salvation from the clutches of everything that is against the kingdom of God.

The canticle also bears reference to the preparation of the salvation brought to us by Jesus Christ. Zachariah says, “…that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days” (Lk 1:75). This is the duty cast upon us. God showers us His blessings upon us in many forms through various people. The blessing He showers upon is not mere privilege for us. This is also an obligation from our part so that we might serve Him without fear in holiness and rigorousness before Him all our days. The book of Psalm praises such people fulfilling this obligation. It says, “Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord” (Ps 119:1).

The season of Christmas is a season of blessing for us. We rejoice over the birth of Christ. Yet the canticle of Zachariah reminds us of our part to truly enjoy the salvation brought to us through Jesus Christ. Let us remind ourselves at this moment of the advice of St. Paul who says, “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col 3:17). Amen.

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