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December 23, 2020

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Gospel: Luke 1:57-66
When the time came for Elizabeth, she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard that the merciful Lord had done a wonderful thing for her, and they rejoiced with her.
When, on the eighth day, they came to attend the circumcision of the child,
they wanted to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, “Not so; he shall be called John.”

They said to her, “But no one in your family has that name!”
and they made signs to his father for the name he wanted to give him.
Zechariah asked for a writing tablet, and wrote on it, “His name is John;” and they were very surprised.
Immediately, Zechariah could speak again, and his first words were in praise of God.
A holy fear came on all in the neighborhood,
and throughout the hill country of Judea the people talked about these events.
All who heard of it, pondered in their minds, and wondered, “What will this child be?”
For they understood that the hand of the Lord was with him.

“O come, O come Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel”
so goes one of the most beautiful Advent songs! It is the song of “captives”
waiting for the coming of the redeemer! Indeed, all humanity is in the grip of Satan as
“captives” until the shoot from the Radix Jesse came to free those in Satan’s tyranny!
We have cause for rejoicing even as Satan and his minions tremble
at the good news of the birth of a Savior (as did Herod and all of Jerusalem,
so Matthew tells us with the visit of the Magi to Herod.)
The joy of Advent is the joy of expecting “what great things the Lord has begun to do beginning with
Mary’s “fiat” and the call to repentance to prepare the way of the Lord by the precursor John,
and ultimately the birth of Jesus, the King of all Nations.
And since joy is best captured in poetry rather than prose let us conclude our reflections on the O Antiphons by singing this beautiful Advent prayer:
O come, O come Emmanuel
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, o Israel
O come thou rod of jesse,
Free thine own from satan’s tyranny
From depths of hell thy people save
And give them victory o’er the grave …

© Copyright Bible Diary 2020

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