By Rev. Christie John, Geneseo United Methodist Church
One of my favorite memories of Christmas is singing carols! We sang carols at home and at church, in the car and at Grandma and Grandpa’s. We listened to carols on the radio and when we did our holiday shopping, Christmas music filled the streets, thanks to a speaker rigged up above the Johnson’s Department Store sign. It’s not too surprising that Christmas is celebrated with singing…after all, the story of Jesus’ birth is filled with music!
Luke begins his gospel of Jesus with the story of a priest named Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth, an older couple who were heartbroken because they had never been able to have children. One day while Zechariah was praying alone in the temple, an angel of the Lord appeared to him with good news – Zechariah and Elizabeth were soon to be parents! Not only that, their son would grow up to be a prophet who would prepare the way for the long–awaited Messiah by calling people to repentance.
Soon after the birth of his son John, Zechariah sang the beautiful song of praise found in Luke 1:68-79, a song that the church has come to call, “The Benedictus” or “The Blessing” because it beings with these words:
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them.”
Zechariah’s song reminds us that Jesus came to bless us with good news. God is FOR us and God desires that all people would come to repentance: that we would turn away from all that would harm our relationship with God and neighbor and instead to turn toward Life and Light.
Through Jesus, God offers forgiveness and restoration, peace and wholeness. That is good news worth singing about!