Then his father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke this prophecy: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.
Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Jesus was born at a time of great persecution and social upheaval. Born in the raw poverty of a stable, Jesus’s birth frees us from the darkness of sin, slavery, and hopelessness. On Christmas Eve in Ireland, a candle is placed in the window as a sign of light to the Holy Family that there is room at the inn of our hearts for the birth of Our Lord.
There are millions throughout the world today who are persecuted for their faith and many who are slaves to darkness, sin, and bondage. Let us remember all those persecuted for their faith as we light our candles this year and ask what we need to be “freed” from ourselves?
—Julianne Stanz is a speaker, writer and mother of two, originally from Ireland, and Director of the New Evangelization for the Diocese of Green Bay.
Come, Lord Jesus, do not delay. Refresh our souls and give fresh courage to your people. Please bring healing to our hearts and homes as we welcome you anew to this fragile yet waiting world. Amen!Please share the Good Word with your friends!