Saturday of the Third Week of Advent
O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver, the hope of the nations and their Savior: Come and save us, O Lord our God.
“What then will this child be?” the people wondered, “For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.” They were amazed: after nine months of silence, Zechariah speaks after writing “God is gracious”, which is the meaning of his son’s name. This silent word loosens the bound tongue; in six months’ time the Silent Word will be born to loosen the chains of sin that bind the whole world. Emmanuel will arrive, the hope of the nations and their Savior: an infant comes to wage war on the armies of Hell. John is born to an old, childless couple; God is born to ancient humanity doomed to die.
In the days of Moses, when God was gracious to the slaves of Egypt, He sent His Word carved in stone: Ten Commandments to teach us how to live. The cries of John as he is circumcised, as the Law is written in his flesh, herald the coming of the Word fashioned in the same human flesh, the Word of God walking among us, teaching us how to live by living our life Himself.
John is the forerunner of Jesus; Jesus is the forerunner of a new world, a new humanity, the dawn of a new day after which night shall follow no more. Zechariah does not name his son after a deceased ancestor, but in obedience to the angel of God gives his son a name his family has never known. Jesus came that all who believe in His Name might be saved, that all might be given a name humanity has never known: that the children of Adam might be named after the One who is unfathomably ancient, yet makes all things new (Revelation 21:5), who dies and comes to life again.
Tomorrow, in the middle of the night, we go to celebrate a new dawn: a new Adam arises on the Earth, born in the wilderness of sin to lead us to the new Eden. Could we receive a greater gift this Christmas than the Son of God? God is with us! Emmanuel is with you! Prepare Him room; empty your hearts of sin and all pride. Sweep away any dust of apathy or neglect, any dung of earthly loves. Chase out the ox of ignorance and the ass of stubbornness. God is coming to you, there, in the Bread and Wine; how shall we receive Him? He who was born of the Virgin desires to reside within you! “Come and adore Him!” the angels cry, yet He desires to come and adore you! Prepare, prepare; the Lord that is to come is already here!