But We Hear This Every Year
I should hate Christmas songs. Having worked in the retail and service industries for many years, I have heard “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas,” “All I Want for Christmas” and “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” too many times. Working in the on-campus coffee shop at Gonzaga meant Bing Crosby’s Christmas classics were on repeat from Thanksgiving Break right up until we left campus for the semester break. Though I love, “White Christmas” anyone who has heard it as every fifteenth song during a six-hour shift could be forgiven for never wanting to hear those opening bells again. And yet – I still cherish December 1st (the first day we could play Christmas music growing up) and hearing the songs that signal the season.
Today’s reading is the Song of Zechariah. Also known as the Benedictus, this passage from the Gospel of Luke was the song of thanksgiving uttered by Zechariah on the occasion of the circumcision of his son, John the Baptist. Zechariah’s ability to speak had just returned to him and his first words were in praise for the blessing of his son’s birth and for John’s foretold role in the life and mission of Jesus.
We hear this reading each year during Advent, we should be tired of the Song of Zechariah and yet – I still love to hear a father’s delight at the miracle of his son’s birth and the life that has been prophesized for him. “And you, child, will be called prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways…to shine on those who sit in darkness and death’s shadow, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” I hope that this Advent Season we can put aside some of the cynicism at hearing the same songs and the same readings and instead cherish the return of these familiar lyrics and passages.
Rachel Ford is Director of the Magis Christian Service Center and a member of the Community Ministry Department at Seattle Prep. She and her husband, Nicholas, are parents to Calogero (1 year and 8 mos).