The Birth of John the Baptist
57 When it was time for Elizabeth to have her baby, she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and relatives heard that the Lord had shown her great mercy, and they shared her joy. 59 On the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to name him after his father Zechariah, 60 but his mother spoke up and said, “No! He is to be called John.” 61 They said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who has that name.” 62 Then they made signs to his father, to find out what he would like to name the child. 63 He asked for a writing tablet, and to everyone’s astonishment he wrote, “His name is John.” 64 Immediately his mouth was open and his tongue set free, and he began to speak, praising God. 65 All the neighbors will filled with awe, and throughout the hill country of Judea people people were talking about all these things. 66 Everyone who heard this wondered about it, asking, “What then is this child going to be?” For the Lord’s hand was with him.
The birth of any child is a true blessing, but for Elizabeth and Zechariah, John’s birth was a miracle. When Elizabeth became pregnant, they recognized that the Lord was holding true to God’s promise made through the angel Gabriel. At this time, tradition would dictate that the child should have taken his father’s name, but John’s parents were not concerned about honoring their own legacy. They had no doubt in the Lord’s promise. John the Baptist was born to proclaim the coming arrival of Christ.
Gracious God, as we ready our hearts and minds for the coming of Christ, we ask your patience with our questions and your forgiveness for our doubts. We admit there are times your words fall on deaf ears and others when we should speak out instead of being silent. Teach us to hear your voice through the noise of the world. Help us to honor you in all that we say and all that we do. Lead us to the manger. Amen.