Each of these canticles is for all intents and purposes a song of adoration. Each reminds us that the natural response to God’s wonderful surprises is adoration.
- The characters are not major players – a young teenage girl, old man childless, shepherds as outcasts, old man who never had his dream fulfilled.
- Faith – all characters were in need of help but they all exhibited Faith. God has faith in them and they showed in back. As Paul Gordon-Chandler writes in Songs in Waiting, “God is in the business of renewing, healing, restoring, saving, liberating and giving us new beginnings.”
- They exhibited responses of praise, adoration and joy with these they shared the good news. The end of the birth narrative the Shepherds are ready to proclaim the angels’ message to the world. Zechariah and Elizabeth (1:5-7) proclaimed in the temple the good news of John the Baptist. Simeon and Anna proclaim the good news about Jesus as Simeon the old, gentle, saintly, bent-over man takes this baby boy into his arms and blesses him. And in so doing not only is the baby boy blessed, but so also is the old saint.
- Holy Spirit – Mary, unsure of Joseph’s reaction, agreed to go along with the angels proposal in simple trust, and that trust in God led her to follow a new way. Zechariah filled with the Holy Spirit to utter Benedictus. Simeon is filled with the Holy Spirit to utter the Nunc Dimittis.