The Hymns and Carols of Christmas


The Canticle of Zachary

Source: Luke 1:68-79, New International Version of the Bible

68 "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come and has redeemed his people.
69 He has raised up a horn* of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
76 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
77 to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
78 because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
79 to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace."


* Horn here symbolizes strength.

One of the three Great Canticles of the New Testament, the other two being Mary's Magnificat and the Nunc Dimittis of Simeon.

The title comes from the first word of the Canticle in Latin:

68 “ Benedictus Dominus, Deus Israel,
quia visitavit et fecit redemptionem plebi suae
69 et erexit cornu salutis nobis
in domo David pueri sui,
70 sicut locutus est per os sanctorum,
qui a saeculo sunt, prophetarum eius,
71 salutem ex inimicis nostris
et de manu omnium, qui oderunt nos;
72 ad faciendam misericordiam cum patribus nostris
et memorari testamenti sui sancti,
73 iusiurandum, quod iuravit ad Abraham patrem nostrum,
daturum se nobis,
74 ut sine timore, de manu inimicorum liberati,
serviamus illi
75 in sanctitate et iustitia coram ipso
omnibus diebus nostris.
76 Et tu, puer, propheta Altissimi vocaberis:
praeibis enim ante faciem Domini parare vias eius,
77 ad dandam scientiam salutis plebi eius
in remissionem peccatorum eorum,
78 per viscera misericordiae Dei nostri,
in quibus visitabit nos oriens ex alto,
79 illuminare his, qui in tenebris et in umbra mortis sedent,
ad dirigendos pedes nostros in viam pacis ”. (Nova Vulgata)

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