Zechariah, the baby’s father, was filled with the Holy Spirit and uttered this prophecy:
Blessed be the God of Israel!
For he has turned to his people, saved them, and set them free,
and has raised up a deliverer of victorious power
from the house of his servant David.
So he promised: age after age he proclaimed
by the lips of his holy prophets,
that he would deliver us from our enemies,
out of the hands of all who hate us;
that he would deal mercifully with our forebears,
calling to mind his solemn covenant.
Such was the oath he swore to our father Abraham,
to rescue us from enemy hands,
and grant us, free from fear, to worship him
with a holy worship, with uprightness of heart,
in his presence, our whole life long.
And you, my child, you shall be called Prophet of the Highest,
for you will be the Lord’s forerunner, to prepare his way
and lead his people to salvation through knowledge of him,
by the forgiveness of their sins.
For in the tender compassion of our God
the morning sun from heaven will rise upon us,
to shine on those who live in darkness, under the cloud of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Why is Zechariah’s song called “the Benedictus”? *
Thoughts on parenting — Donna Ross
As Zechariah begins his song of praise he speaks to God, thanking God for bringing deliverance to the people of Israel. Now Zechariah looks down at the baby in his arms, and speaks to the baby:
And you, my child,
you shall be called the Prophet of the Highest,
for you will be the Lord’s forerunner,
to prepare his way and lead his people to salvation….
All children have the God-given potential to change the lives of those around them. As we look into the faces of our new babies and give God thanks, can we — like Zechariah — also look into their hidden futures and see the gifts they will share with others? Do we dare to look into their future and see also their struggles, the dangers they will face, even their deaths?
What kind of love best prepares children for their future?
* Why is Zechariah’s song called “the Benedictus”?
Since the earliest days of the church, this song has been chanted by monastics as the primary song or “canticle” for morning worship. In Latin, the song begins with the words, Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel — “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel.”