The First Songs of Christmas: Zechariah's song
This song of Zechariah's, known as the Benedictus, is not well-known to many of us. In the birth narratives the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth is often overlooked as their soon-to-be-born son, John the Baptist, isn't the headliner of the stories. He's just a precursor, the introducer, the preparer for the real Story throughout the rest of his life. So we tend to ignore this story for the most part. When we get to this song of Zechariah's we speed-read through it to get to the exciting second chapter of Luke. But if we will take a moment to pause and study this song of Zechariah's I think we can hear from God a powerful lesson and truth.
This song is a lesson in believing and trusting even before seeing evidence of God acting on our behalf. In this song Zechariah prophesied God would save them from their enemies, remember the covenant He had made with the people, and enable the people to serve God without fear. Their present situation, however, spoke a very different reality. Evil emperors, power-hungry local rulers, corrupt magistrates, greedy tax collectors, and condemnatory religious leaders ruled the day. The people could see no end in sight to the oppression and tyranny they faced each day. But God had a message for them through this song. God heard their prayer and would deliver the people.
This Sunday at First Church we will be looking at this song of Zechariah's. We will see how God hears our prayers, is acting on our behalf, and will deliver us, even before we recognize it. I hope to see each of you in worship this Sunday morning at 10:45 at First Church as we examine the "First Songs of Christmas."