Friday 23 December 2022

Today is Friday the 23rd of December, in the fourth week of Advent.

Josh Garrels sings, ‘What Child is This?’ What child is this for you, as we step even closer towards Christmas day?

What child is this, who, laid to rest
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Haste, haste to bring him laud
The babe, the son of Mary
So bring him incense, gold, and myrrh
Come, peasant, king, to own him
The King of kings salvation brings
Let loving hearts enthrone him
This, this is Christ the King
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Haste, haste to bring him laud
The babe, the son of Mary
Today’s reading is from the Gospel of Luke.

Luke 1:57-66

Now the time came for Elizabeth to give birth, and she bore a son. Her neighbours and relatives heard that the Lord had shown his great mercy to her, and they rejoiced with her.

On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him Zechariah after his father. But his mother said, ‘No; he is to be called John.’ They said to her, ‘None of your relatives has this name.’ Then they began motioning to his father to find out what name he wanted to give him. He asked for a writing-tablet and wrote, ‘His name is John.’ And all of them were amazed. Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue freed, and he began to speak, praising God. Fear came over all their neighbours, and all these things were talked about throughout the entire hill country of Judea. All who heard them pondered them and said, ‘What then will this child become?’ For, indeed, the hand of the Lord was with him.

An elderly woman becomes pregnant for the first time. Imagine the joy that Elizabeth feels, not just at the birth of her son, but at the fulfilment of God’s promise. What promises has God made to you? Has he begun to fulfil them or is that yet to come?

Imagine what goes through Zechariah when the ligaments of his tongue begin to loosen. How does he feel as God’s promise is fulfilled in and through him?

The name ‘John’ means ‘graced by God’ in Hebrew. Bear this in mind as you listen to the reading again. What new insights emerge?

As we come to the end of this time of prayer, spend some time in conversation with God. In what ways have you been ‘graced by God’ over the past few days? In what ways does God want to grace you in the days to come?

O Wisdom
Lord and Ruler
Root of Jesse
Key of David
Root of Jesse
Rising Sun
King of the Nations
Come, Lord Jesus

Friday, 23 December
4th week of Advent
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