“There is no Holy One like the Lord, no one besides you.’”

Hannah’s Prayer, 1 Samuel 2:2 (NRSV)

The Holy Place

Hannah had been so overcome with sorrow and longing she could not eat the feast set before her. Elkinah had given her a double portion, but to Peninah had gone plate after plate loaded with meats and delicacies for her children. On Hannah’s side of the table, there was only one place setting. When she could endure Peninah’s knowing leers no longer, Hannah quietly slipped away to the tabernacle, and began to pray, so troubled her lips moved, perhaps through quiet sobbing.

Yet in that sacred place the Lord made God’s presence known, and Hannah was reassured YHWH of Israel had heard her prayers and would grant her petition.

Zechariah was also in the Holy Place as he ministered to God, bringing before the Lord the incense of the people’s prayers while outside the whole assembly of the people were praying aloud. It was then an angel of the Lord appeared to the old priest serving at the altar. Zechariah’s unspoken prayers, and those of his wife, would indeed be answered with a son, filled with the Spirit of God.

Both Zechariah and Hannah must have reflected on the gentle yet powerful holiness of God Who is worthy of our grateful homage.   

Christmas Carol

Let all mortal flesh keep silence
and with fear and trembling stand;
ponder nothing earthly-minded,
for with blessing in his hand
Christ, our God, to earth descending,
comes our homage to command.

“Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence” Gerald Moultrie (1864)

Prayer

We bend our knee and our heart before You, Holy One of Israel, for there truly is none like You, holy and humble, mighty God and merciful Messiah. You bring grace and blessing in Your hands, and we offer up our hands to You, to be filled with Your holiness and righteousness.

“That we … might serve him … in holiness and righteousness in his presence all our days.”

Zechariah’s Prophecy, Luke 1:74-75 (NRSV)
By Sailko – Own work, CC BY 3.0

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