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Serving Without Fear by David Fulk

An Advent Devotion
The Canticles of Christmas
Week Three: The Benedictus

Sunday, December 17

Luke 1:67-80

“…guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1:79)

I love when Don Brown gives the story behind a hymn. The back story for any song makes it more meaningful. This is the case with the Canticle (Song) of Zechariah. The back story is Luke 1:5-25; 57-66. I hope you’ll read it now. It helps us understand why Zechariah’s pronouncement was so unexpected and beautiful.

There’s no question that on the day of John’s naming, Zechariah was overcome. What new father isn’t? I remember vividly the deep emotion I felt when I first saw Davis’s feet, and a moment later, his red hair. Fortunately—and to everyone’s relief in the delivery room—I made no pronouncements!

But after being mute for nine months, Zechariah suddenly speaks, proclaiming God’s redemptive promise and what his son will do to fulfill that promise. Soon everyone in the region knows this boy named John will play a key role in God’s plan to redeem the world.

The canticle says God enables us to “serve him without fear.” Surely John had no fear. Anyone who eats locusts has no fear! And he would need to be fearless to prepare the way of the Lord.

Centuries later, Zechariah’s words allow us to prepare the way for Jesus to come again. I pray we might claim for ourselves and offer to others the words of the canticle this Advent: that salvation and forgiveness are for all God’s people; that we can be light amidst the world’s darkness; and that we allow God to guide us in the way of peace.

In doing so, may we, like John, become strong in spirit so we might serve the Lord without fear.

by David Fulk


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