"Praise be to the God of Israel, for He has come and redeemed His people!!"
The neatest thing about this verse is that it was not said by Mary, or Joseph or by an angel, or even by John the Baptist. but it was said by John the Baptists daddy, Zechariah! When Zechariah found out that Elisabeth was carrying his son, and once the initial shock wore off, since she was suppose to be barren, he praised God! I think we all do that, once we realise that God is doing something awesome, THEN we praise but sometimes, we are sceptical at first.
Zechariah was told by Gabriel that His son would be like Elijah in that he would announce the coming of the Lord. I think Israel's anticipation for a Messiah started like WAY before Mary's pregnancy, and even before Elisabeth's. Prophets have awaited their prophecies for ages, proclaiming an event that would not take place for some years to come.
Something in Zechariahs spirit sent him into a place of anticipation and excitement. I wonder if he felt like a lot of us do. He was a holy man of God, a high preist, esteemed by his community. But was probably humble in his faith, and knew that his authority did not compare in the least to the God whom he represented as his duty called him to do. I love Zechariahs words to his little son, John- "And you, my child, will be called Prophet of the Most High, for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way for Him, to give his people knowledge of his salvation, through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in its shadow of death to guide our feet into the path of peace."-Luke 1:76-79.
John seems to have the job of proclaiming the message of Christmas. Its so amazing how God used a "barren" woman, an old woman to bring forth the prophet, and a virgin to bring forth the Messiah. He didn't use ordinary ladies of child bearing age, but two unlikely woman, cousins, neither of them expecting to become mothers any time soon! One wasn't married and one was past the age to have kids!! Our God is full of surprises. He brought forth two baby boys to change the world, the one to "make way for the Lord" and the other, Jesus, Light of the World, proof of Gods mercy, an illustration of Gods true character, Mighty in Love, strong to save, and full of unending mercy........what an awesome account and what an awesome promise to all mankind!!!!