Zachariah Was Right

Being Set Free

Zachariah starts his canticle (Lk. 1:67-69) blessing the Lord “who has come to his people to set them free.” He goes on to say that the Lord comes to set them free from their enemies. That they are free to worship him without fear. Zachariah foresees the fulfillment of God’s covenant in the womb of Mary. And the mission of his newborn son as the one who will “prepare the way.” I have often thought, “Does no one see the irony here?” He is talking about an infant and a baby in-utero coming to set everyone free.

This contradiction, improbability, and general unrealistic expectation sets the stage for what has become our central Christian belief: God became human, “dwelt among us,” (Jn. 1:14) suffered and died, redeemed us from sin, rose from the dead and now invites us to his kingdom (heaven). This is very different from the various gods of other religions.

A Humble God?

Throughout the centuries the many gods of the many peoples of the world have had human aspects. These human aspects have often been related to human vices. The Mesopotamian, Sumerian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Hindu deities are all depicted with vices. They could be selfish and lustful, jealous and vengeful, yet sometimes merciful on a whim. Humans were their occasional playthings, subject to their whims rather than free. All of these gods were relatable because of their human vices. And recognized as divine because of the power they had to commit vice yet still maintain their power as a god.

However, Jesus Christ, the God of the Christian, is depicted as humble, simple, and selfless: relatable because He became a human person; recognized as divine because of His virtue. Jesus proved His divinity by renouncing all of His power, submitting even to be conceived in the womb of a woman and to grow from baby to child to adult, to be understood or misunderstood, accepted or rejected, and eventually captured, beaten, crucified and murdered. ” And the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” (Jn 1:14) He did not “call down fire” (Lk. 9:54) on his enemies or order legions of angels to rescue him in his moments of greatest need (Mt. 26:53). He used the power of his divinity by allowing humanity to be free and offering us his heart, full of love for us.

There is a beautiful quote about Jesus from one of the documents of the Second Vatican Council that is cited in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It says, “The Son of God. . . worked with human hands; he thought with a human mind. He acted with a human will, and with a human heart he loved. Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin.” (CCC #470; GS 22 § 2)

The Attraction of Humility

Here is the attraction, for me anyway. It isn’t just that God became one of us, but that he chose to live the everyday. The mundane. The simple happiness and the suffering, and that he chose to love. Real human love takes humility, and Jesus did love. John 11:5 says, “Now Jesus loved Mary and her sister and Lazarus.” Lazarus was his friend. And he wept at the death of his friend, even though he would raise him from death (Jn. 11:35). Jesus wept over Jerusalem as he looked out on the cityscape because he loved the people in it, past, present, and future. (Mt. 23:37-39; Lk. 19:41-44) At the end of his life he prayed for us (Jn. 17:20) to be one in him and in the Father, “that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.” (Jn. 17:26)

Looking at it from this perspective, Zachariah’s “unrealistic” statements in his canticle came true on a deeper level than even he could fathom. The freedom we gained from the birth we await tonight brought us a greater freedom than anyone could have imagined. May our hearts be open to this freedom as we receive our humble God as a baby tonight and respond with love to Love.

[Readings: 2 Sm 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16; Lk 1:67-79]

Nicole Buchholz

Nicole Buchholz has been a Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi since 2001. She has worked in the United States, Ireland, and the Philippines, and is currently living in Georgia. Throughout her consecrated life she has worked in schools, with youth groups, young adult Missions, retreats, camps, and family ministries.


  1. Maricar Dizon on January 2, 2023 at 2:55 am

    Thank you for this beautiful reflection, Nicole. Blessed Christmas and a joyful new year!

  2. Jean Floro on January 1, 2023 at 12:06 am

    Thank you, Nicole… it’s so great to read your Reflection!!! We miss you here in the Philippines!!! God bless you always!!! Looking forward to more of your reflections. Happy New Year🎉🌟🕊💕

  3. Brenda Buchholz on December 24, 2022 at 9:42 am

    This is beautiful, love you!

  4. Joanne Huestis-Dalrymple on December 24, 2022 at 6:12 am

    LOVE this! Merry Christmas, Nicole!

    • Ramon Floro on December 30, 2022 at 6:44 pm

      Very inspiring Nicole. Thank you… Merry Christmas and a Happy and Blessed New Year!

      Ramon Floro

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