Thursday, December 24, 2020
Reading (2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8-11, 16)
 After the king had been living in his palace awhile and Adonai had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies,  the king said to Natan the prophet, “Here, I’m living in a cedar-wood palace; but the ark of God is kept in a tent!”
 Natan said to the king, “Go, do everything that is in your heart, for Adonai is with you.”  But that same night the word of Adonai came to Natan: “Go and tell my servant David that this is what Adonai says: ‘You are going to build me a house to live in?
 “Therefore say this to my servant David that this is what Adonai–Tzva’ot says: ‘I took you from the sheep-yards, from following the sheep, to make you chief over my people, over Isra’el.
 I have been with you wherever you went; I have destroyed all your enemies ahead of you; and I am making your reputation great, like the reputations of the greatest people on earth.  I will assign a place to my people Isra’el; I will plant them there, so that they can live in their own place without being disturbed any more.
The wicked will no longer oppress them, as they did at the beginning,  and as they did from the time I ordered judges to be over my people Isra’el; instead, I will give you rest from all your enemies.
“‘Moreover, Adonai tells you that Adonai will make you a house.  Thus your house and your kingdom will be made secure forever before you; your throne will be set up forever.’”
Gospel (Luke 1: 67-79)
 His father Z’kharyah was filled with the Ruach HaKodesh and spoke this prophecy:  “Praised be Adonai, the God of Isra’el, because he has visited and made a ransom to liberate his people  by raising up for us a mighty Deliverer who is a descendant of his servant David.
 It is just as he has spoken through the mouth of the prophets from the very beginning –  that we should be delivered from our enemies and from the power of all who hate us.
 “This has happened so that he might show the mercy promised to our fathers —that he would remember his holy covenant,  the oath he swore before Avraham avinu to grant us that we, freed from our enemies, would serve him without fear,  in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
 You, child, will be called a prophet of Ha‘Elyon; you will go before the Lord to prepare his way by spreading the knowledge among his people that deliverance comes by having sins forgiven  through our God’s most tender mercy, which causes the Sunrise to visit us from Heaven,  to shine on those in darkness, living in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the paths of peace.”