Prayer: Great God, let Your Love be so set before our children by lives of love and Your holiness by good examples of virtue, that the children may be led to love and serve You all their days. Let Your love be set before the children and youth in Sunday Schools across this land. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Read St Luke 1: 5 – 7
Luke begins the Gospel not with the birth of Jesus but with the birth of John the Baptist.
This is important as right away, it answers the question of the Messiah being foretold. Foretold by what prophet? Foretold by John the Baptist who announced the coming of the Messiah.
Luke even gives us the era in which John the Baptist was born and the tribe that he was from. In the time of Herod, King of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah (the name Zechariah means “Yahweh has remembered”).
Priests were divided up into divisions for the work of God in the temple. Luke tells us that Zechariah belonged to the priestly division of Abijah. Immediately, we know that Zechariah came from the tribe of Aaron (the Levites who were all priests). Each division would take their turns doing the ministry of prayers and sacrifices in the temple.
Zechariah is married to
. What is even more astonishing here is Luke gives the reader an explanation of Elizabeth ’s heritage. Elizabeth was also a descendant of Aaron. Why is this important? Both parents of John the Baptist were from the tribe of Aaron. And Luke notes that both parents were upright in the sight of God and observed all the Lord’s commandments and regulations. Elizabeth
But, even in all their holiness… they had one major problem. They had no children. In the Jewish understanding, this means that somewhere in their past either they or their parents or their grandparents had committed a sin. The first blessing uttered upon man in the creation account was to be fruitful, to multiply, and to fill the earth. A large family was a blessing from God. To not have children, in the time of Zechariah and Elizabeth, meant their family was cursed and they lived in great sorrow. (Phew! Good thing we no longer believe this today!!!).
Prayer: O Lord Jesus Christ, who did take children into Your arms and bless them, we pray that You keep our children ever enfolded into Your love. Help them to grow into love of You, save them from evil and strengthen them against the impulses of self-will. Inspire all children to a high sense of truth and of the duty of human service. Give the children grace to follow day by day in the steps of Your most holy life. Amen. (FMP 1964).