Luke 1 57-66. 80
When Elizabeth was full-term in her pregnancy, she bore a son. Her neighbours and relatives, seeing that God had overwhelmed her with mercy, celebrated with her.
On the eighth day, they came to circumcise the child and were calling him Zachariah after his father. But his mother intervened: “No. He is to be called John.”
“But,” they said, “no one in your family is named that.” They used sign language to ask Zachariah what he wanted him named.
Asking for a tablet, Zachariah wrote, “His name is to be John.” That took everyone by surprise. Surprise followed surprise—Zachariah’s mouth was now open, his tongue loose, and he was talking, praising God!
A deep, reverential fear settled over the neighbourhood, and in all that Judean hill country people talked about nothing else. Everyone who heard about it took it to heart, wondering, “What will become of this child? Clearly, God has his hand in this.”
The child grew up, healthy and spirited. He lived out in the desert until the day he made his prophetic debut in Israel.
Today, we celebrate the nativity of John the Baptist, the last of the great prophets who ushered in the Messiah. We need to learn from him. We need to imitate him. For what he did, we must do. We too must usher in the Lord in our world. We too must be His cheerleaders and heralds.
What a tremendous responsibility Christians have in the world today! If we do not sing of His praises, then who will?
I’m not exaggerating when I say the name of Jesus should come up in our conversations at least once a day. Why not? What’s wrong with that? His name should be as familiar to us (and to our friends) as our children! His name should be at the tip of our tongue. Why not? Why not bring up His name in a cheerful way? Why not even in a boastful way? After all, if His name is used daily in a blasphemous way, then why not in a loving way???
We must give thanks to God at all times and in all places. Have we forgotten that our purpose in life is to serve Jesus Christ? And that a very big part of our joy comes from bearing witness to the Good News? I hope not, for almost everything else about life is simply dust in the wind.