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Advent calendar 2023 - 19 December

A plant growing in a crack in a pavement.

Zechariah said to the angel, 'How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is getting on in years.'

Luke 1:18

Today’s gospel introduces us to Zechariah and Elizabeth who are childless and now too old for her to conceive. During his service in the Temple, Zechariah is told by the angel Gabriel that they will soon have a son. Because he doubts this miracle, Zechariah is rendered speechless until the child’s birth.

Many of us may find ourselves able to identify with such doubts. Disheartened by the challenges we see around us of poverty, injustice, environmental destruction and our own personal struggles, we too may sometimes lose heart and feel unready to receive God’s word. 

Zechariah’s voice will burst forth in praise again, when he affirms his son’s name, John, which means ‘God is gracious’. As we draw near the celebration of Christmas, let’s fix on eyes on our gracious God and pray he will renew our hope and strengthen us to live the justice, mercy and love of the Kingdom.

Advent prayer

Gracious God, 
grant us renewed trust in you, 
so that we may be open to your word, 
and, guided by your grace, 
live your love each day. 


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