4th Tuesday of Advent – Christmas Eve
2 Sam 7: 1 – 5, 8b – 12, 14a, 16; Ps 89; Luke 1: 67 – 79
With his voice restored and filled with the Holy Spirit, Zechariah’s first words are a prayer of praise: “Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel”….and well schooled in the psalms he gives the reasons why God is worthy of praise.
He praises God for His mercy to his people; the divine mercy proclaimed through the house of David, through the prophets, through Abraham and all the fathers of Israel. He praises God for deliverance, for the freedom to worship without fear. His voice is more than restored; he is passionate in recounting God’s blessedness. This has to be proclaimed.
But it does not stop there, Zechariah praises God for the gift of a son – who shall be called the prophet of the Most High. That he and Elizabeth will have a son in their old age is such a personal grace, truly the experience of the tender compassion of God.
In these last hours of Advent, Zechariah can be an example for us – to reflect on how God is worthy of praise in our own lives. We might say: “Blessed be you Lord, the God of my life”…and then, for our own good, recall the blessings we have received from God’s tender compassion. Surely, the list will be most personal because God graces each of us in our uniqueness but there is one we do have in common – it is right now.
We gather to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and to receive the Lord – a daily experience of the Lord’s tender compassion, His extravagant mercy. This brings to mind the last words of the reading at Vigils this morning: “You, then, must make sure both that Christ is born in you, and that you also are reborn in Him.” (Homily of Lanspergius the Carthusian)
This we are doing and we bless God.