The blessing of thanksgiving

“Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying, ‘Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has visited and redeemed his people…’.” (Luke 1:67-68)

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? He is that same young man whom God took from being a shepherd boy to the position of King of Israel.

David was willing to build the best of the best temple for God not 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).

Dear friends, what matters is not what you give to God, but the very fact that you acknowledge God and your willingness to give thanks. Jesus was impressed with the widow because, rather than complain about her obvious poverty, she still joined in the thanksgiving with the little she had. God was impressed with David not because he wants to build God’s house, but because he expressed his unhappiness about the state of 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 our mouths never be used for gossiping, complaining and evil talk. Grant us wisdom to seal up our own lips when its contents are not in consonance with the reason why you created it. Amen

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