The Blessing of Thanksgiving

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“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David.” (Luke 1:68-69)

In our Gospel passage today, we come across that beautiful song which Zechariah sang in thanksgiving to God for the release of his speech after he had named John the Baptist. Zechariah who did not believe it was possible for him to be a father at his age had to confess that indeed there is no one like God when he saw with his own eyes the son that was born to him.

Zechariah’s song of Thanksgiving is also known as the Benedictus. It is a song that incorporates the entire history of the chosen people of God, a song that points God out as a promise keeper, a miracle worker, a mighty warrior, a God who delivers us from the hands of our enemies, a God of righteousness and holiness.

This is the song we sing every day as part of our morning prayers in the breviary. No matter what you may be going through, sing this song of Zechariah and your confidence in God will surely be reawakened.

There is an aspect of the song of Zechariah which connects us with our first reading. Zechariah declares that God has visited and redeemed his people and has raised up a horn of salvation in the house of his servant David. Who is this David? That same young man whom God took from being a shepherd boy to the position of King of Israel.

There is something that David did that really made an impression in the mind of God. He expressed his desire to build a befitting house for God when he noticed that his house of cedar was better than that where the ark of God was kept. David was willing to build the best of the best temple not simply because he had the resources, but out of his humility and in thanksgiving; in acknowledgement of what God had done for him (raising him from nothing to glory).

Eventually, God told Nathan the prophet that David would not have the honour of building His house. However, for merely expressing his desire to give God thanks, God showered so many blessings on David. The blessings God gave to David even extended beyond his own lifetime. God’s promise to David became fulfilled in Jesus Christ. Year after year, so long as Christmas is celebrated all over the world, we would always remember David. In Jesus, David’s throne has become established forever.

Dear friends, it is not what you give to God that matters, but the very fact that you acknowledge God and you are willing to give thanks. Jesus was impressed with the widow because, rather than complain about her obvious poverty, she joined in the thanksgiving with the little she had. God was impressed with David not because he built God’s house, but because he expressed his unhappiness about the state of God’s house. We cannot buy God’s blessing (everything in this world already belongs to God) but we can draw His attention towards us when we show concern towards God’s house.

As we celebrate Christmas, let us join Zechariah to sing songs of thanksgiving to God, let us join David to express thanks to God for all that God has done for us. In whatever way we can, let us end this year not on a note of complaining, but on a note of thanksgiving. Let the song of Zechariah become our chorus.

Let us pray: Lord Jesus, may I be a part of the blessings of David. Amen. Bible Study: 2 Samuel 7:1-16, Psalm 89:2-29 and Luke 1:67-79).

Fr. Abu.

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