Faith Daily | 24 December 2020
PRAYER of the Week| Christmas Eve Collect (APBA p.471):
you make us glad with the yearly expectation
of the birth of your Son Jesus Christ:
grant that, as we joyfully receive him for our Redeemer,
so we may with sure confidence behold him
when he shall come to be our Judge;
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
GOSPEL for the Day: Luke 1: 67-79
67 Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy: 68 ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favourably on his people and redeemed them. 69 He has raised up a mighty saviour* for us in the house of his servant David, 70 as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, 71 that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. 72 Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, 73 the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us 74that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, 75in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. 76 And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, 77 to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. 78 By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon* us, 79 to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.’
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by Rev'd Jonathan
It is a great development in modern translations of the Bible that we readers can now see songs and hymns set out in the text in a way that catches our eye and shows us that these passages are not just ordinary speeches being made by someone. There is something very special about them.
Today we see the elderly Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, having only recently recovered his ability to speak, and being filled now with the Holy Spirit, proclaim wonderful words about both his own son, and the saviour from the House of David who is yet to come.
A number of people have mentioned to me how much we seem to have heard about John the Baptist in recent times, and also the prophets (especially Isaiah). The beauty of today’s reading is that it simultaneously reminds us of John’s role as the one who will “prepare the way” for Jesus; it replicates the role of the patriarchs and the prophets in creating anticipation of the arrival of the Messiah; and it also acts as a kind of parallel text to Mary’s Song of Praise (the Magnificat) which we heard earlier in the chapter.
These are all key parts of the build-up of anticipation we have experienced during the season of Advent, a season which ends today on Christmas Eve. The waiting is over and tomorrow we will celebrate the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus, God with Us.
Zechariah’s ‘Benedictus’ hymn sums up all of our expectation and anticipation on the last day of Advent. If we’re not ready now for the arrival of Christ, will we ever be?
FINAL PRAYER: For Hope Growing
like a child in the womb, fluttering;
putting out soft fingers,
hope, stretching, stirring.
God of all hopefulness,
for seeds of silent growth
and secret expectation,
we thank you.
Bring hope to birth in us;
that we may worship you in joy
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Adapted by Rev’d Sandra from The Pattern of our Days Iona Community, Glasgow. Scotland.1998.