Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy: “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.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Zachariah, “filled” with the Holy Spirit, proclaims these beautiful words prayerfully to our God. These words are familiar. For the daily practitioners of Morning Prayer, we recite them as the Canticle of Zachariah. Even with a familiarity, they always feel so natural, authentic, and spirited. I can just imagine Zachariah, welling up with the Holy Spirit and speaking with a lightness of being, proclaiming these beautiful words.
On this eve of Christmas, what fills our hearts? What do we want to say to our God, the baby that we find resting in the manger tonight? May we let these words flow from the depths of our being, like that of Zachariah.
Come Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of your faithful
and kindle in them the fire of your love.
Send forth your Spirit
and they shall be created.
And You shall renew the face of the earth.
—Traditional prayerPlease share the Good Word with your friends!