It is appropriate that today, Christmas Day 2016, we adopt the practice of praying this great prayer, EVERY DAY!
The Benedictus was the song of thanksgiving uttered by Zechariah on the occasion of the birth of his son, John the Baptist.
In the Roman Catholic Church, the Benedictus is part of Lauds because it is the song of thanksgiving for the coming of the Redeemer in the first part of the canticle.
It is believed to have been first introduced by Benedict of Nursia. According to Durandus, the allusion to Christ’s coming under the figure of the rising sun had also some influence on its adoption. It also features in various other liturgical offices, notably at a funeral, at the moment of interment, when words of thanksgiving for the Redemption are specially in place as an expression of Christian hope.
Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
He has come to His people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of His servant David.
Through His holy prophets He promised of old
that He would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember His holy covenant.
This was the oath He swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship Him without fear,
holy and righteous in His sight all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare His way,
to give His people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever, amen