Faith Daily | 24 December 2021
PRAYER of the DAY - Christmas Eve 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: 67-69
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
GOSPEL Reflection: Contributed by: Rev’d David
Luke records the four best known canticles in the Bible, Mary’s Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55), Simeon’s Nunc dimittis (Luke 2:29-32), The Angel’s Gloria (Luke 2:14) and Zechariah’s Benedictus (Luke I : 68-79).
Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit when he spoke his prophetic song of praise. It praises God for “a mighty Saviour from the royal line of His servant David” (Luke 1:69). This is God’s Son to be born to Mary and Joseph, and who would redeem his people.
We are reminded of the Angel’s message to Joseph as he considered Mary’s virgin pregnancy, that he should not be afraid to take her as his wife, because her child is conceived by the Holy Spirit and he will have a son who he is to name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:20-21)
The Angel’s message to Joseph tells us that the miracle of Bethlehem had a purpose, that the Christ child born there was born to die. Someone expressed it like this: “The cross was waiting for Him before He took His first step”. There is no gift under any Christmas tree that could ever compare to the gift He brought that night in Bethlehem.
We are also reminded of St Paul’s words: “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NLT)
That is the reason the virgin birth of Jesus is the foundational truth of Christian Faith. That is why it is so clearly stated in the two great creeds of the Church.
The second century Church Father Irenaeus captured this in his memorable quote: “…those who assert that He was simply a mere man, begotten by Joseph ... being ignorant of Him who from the virgin is Emmanuel ... are deprived of His gift, which is eternal life...” (“Against Heresies” Book 3 Chapter XIX)
Our hearts can resonate with the words of John Newton not long before he died at age eighty two, “Although my memory’s fading, I remember two things very clearly, I am a great sinner and Christ is a great Saviour.”
FINAL PRAYER: (APBA Page 472)
Gracious God, you chose the virgin Mary, by your grace,
to be the mother of our Lord and Saviour:
so fill us with your grace,
that with her we may rejoice in your salvation,
and in all things embrace your will;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.