23 December Luke 1: 67–79
For nine months Zacharias was speechless. Elizabeth his wife would have a child. There seems to have been doubt in her husband’s mind when Gabriel told him. But with God nothing is impossible. When Elizabeth’s child was born Zacharias received his speech back, bursting into song.
During the months of speechlessness the priest maintained his faith, spending time in prayer and reading the scriptures. At this time he composed a song. This he sang at the birth of his son John. This is a reminder to our Lord’s disciples to hold to the faith when indisposed and they cannot attend to their work.
The hymn Zacharias sung is known as the Benedictus after its first word in the Latin Vulgate. This, the fruit of nine months work, contains thirteen quotations from the psalms and prophets. This Hymn of Praise looks to the promised time to come (v.68–70), the time of redemption (v.71–75), praise that the forerunner of the King has arrived (v.76), and finally the work John is appointed to do (v.77–79).
For those who are in darkness this year, through pain or loss or suffering. Pray that the light of Christ will penetrate their darkness and grant them life, life to the full.