Advent, Day 23

The Naming of St John the Baptist by Fra Angelico, 1435.

The Naming of St John the Baptist by Fra Angelico, 1435.

And his father 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

and has raised up a horn of salvation for us

in the house of his servant David,

as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,

that we should be saved from our enemies

and from the hand of all who hate us;

to show the mercy promised to our fathers

and to remember his holy covenant,

the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us

that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,

might serve him without fear,

in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;

for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,

to give knowledge of salvation to his people

in the forgiveness of their sins,

because of the tender mercy of our God,

whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high

to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,

to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

And the child grew and became strong in spirit, and he was in the wilderness until the day of his public appearance to Israel.

–Luke 1: 67-80 (ESV)

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Advent, Day 19

The Visit of the Angel to Zechariah by Luis Paret y Alcazar

The Visit of the Angel to Zechariah by Luis Paret y Alcazar

But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth,  for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb.  And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God,  and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

–Luke 1:13-17 (ESV)