Saturday, 22 July 2017

Praise at the Incarnation

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

These words of praise, uttered by Zacharias the priest at the birth of John the Baptist, comprise one of seven great doxologies given by men and women in connection with the entrance of the Savior into the human family. Even before this was the testimony of His mother Mary in her Magnificat: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour” (Luke 1:46-47).
But the first was uttered by Elizabeth: “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. . . . And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord” (Luke 1: 42,45).

Then, when Christ was born, there were the shepherds who, after seeing Him, “returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them” (Luke 2:20). Eight days later, at His circumcision in Jerusalem, the aged prophet Simeon “blessed God, and said . . . mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel” (Luke 2:28,30-32). The prophetess Anna “gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).

Finally, perhaps two years later, Gentile wise men, after a long journey from the east, “fell down, and worshipped him” (Matthew 2:11). Humble Jewish shepherds and great Gentile scholars joined with priest and prophet and three godly women to praise the Lord for the gift of His Son and to worship Him. Can we do any less?

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