“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.” (Luke 1:68-69)
Most fathers probably feel like singing the moment their first child is born. Zechariah couldn’t contain himself. I mean, who can blame him? He couldn’t say a word for nine months, and the birth of your child is pretty exciting.
Interestingly, when he starts to sing, he doesn’t begin his song by thanking God for his child or by marveling at his son. In fact, he doesn’t mention the child until verse 76! Zechariah knows what’s most important. He sings about how God has visited His people and redeemed them. He sings about a Horn of Salvation, a mighty King from the line of David. Really, this song is all about Jesus. The whole Bible is about Jesus. Our worship and hymns should be all about Jesus.
John is significant because he prepared the way of the Lord by proclaiming God’s Word (Luke 1:76). He told people about the coming salvation, the forgiveness of sins that would be achieved by the death of the Lamb (Luke 1:77). The Church celebrates the birth of John, because he was the forerunner of Christ.
Sorry, John. This was never about you. And he knew that. As John himself said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). And guess what? It isn’t about your pastor, either. It isn’t about the church musicians. It isn’t even about you.
Almighty God, through John the Baptist, the forerunner of Christ, You once proclaimed salvation. Now grant that we may know this salvation and serve You in holiness and righteousness all the days of our life; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
(Collect for the Nativity of St. John the Baptist)